Guest post by Jacob Tuwiner
Sitting for hours at a time playing our favorite FPS (First Person Shooter) or RPG (Role Playing Game) is something every PC gamer is familiar with.
However, the problem with PC gaming is that awful posture that we don’t even notice most times until our necks are bent and backs are hurting.
It’s so easy to ignore these things while you’re topping the leader boards or crushing quests, and the more we sit in these crooked positions, the more our bodies get twisted in the long term.
Setting yourself up for success by understanding what makes good posture, why it’s important, and what you can do to correct it.
What is “Good Posture” for PC Gamers?
Good posture is a good position for your body that can be comfortably maintained.
Having your legs and ankles uneven or twisted can offset the rest of your body, so let’s start from the floor and go up.
The best computer posture begins with keeping your feet flat on the floor with your heels at least equal to your knees. Ideally, your ankles are even a few degrees further than your knees.
You should have your gaming monitor placed at the best height for your neck. This means keeping your screen level to your face while your back is straight.
You should never be bending your neck to look at your monitor, and if you are, you need to either readjust your posture or the screen.
A lot of gamers will tuck their feet back behind themselves by bending their knees – without realizing it, this leans your weight toward the screen.
Tucking your feet back is a chain-reaction that puts tons of stress on your neck and can lead to a long-term crooked placement of your head.
Rather than tucking your feet back, let there be a space of at least an inch from the bottom edge of your desk and the bend of your knee.
You’ll also want to position your knees at the same height as your hips, which will help with maintaining your posture while making it easier to straighten your back correctly. This also encourages good blood circulation.
As with your hips, you also want to keep your forearms straight and parallel to the floor with your elbows at your side. In turn, this should also relax your shoulders enough for the next step.
Straightening your back while keeping your shoulders back is where all of these steps come together. This is usually something that you can only maintain for 15 minutes before returning to a hunch, but following all of the other steps will help you endure this position much longer.
Choosing the right gaming chair is huge for maintaining your posture for prolonged periods of time.
You will still have to make a conscious effort to keep good posture, but it will get easier with time and you’ll find multiple benefits from improving the way you game.
The Benefits of Good PC Gaming Posture
From better core strength to maintaining your ability to walk without a cane/walking-stick in 20 years, the physical benefits are plentiful.
Good posture will set you straight for life. Don’t let your gaming career dictate how well you can walk in front of your grandchildren.
Avoiding the loss spent on a corrective professional—or even surgery—could also be considered a financial benefit.
These are general benefits, but there is one advantage that is awesome for gaming specifically.
When we use our muscles and joints in the way that nature intended, it requires less energy to maintain this position. Sure, it will take effort to correct your posture, but after a week you’ll notice that you’re actually spending less energy to stay in this position compared to your original slumped state.
In fact, you’ll notice a stronger core that will provide more energy and endurance overall.
More energy will result in a stronger flow state while you’re in the concentration zone. Once you can sit straight without even thinking about it, you know that you’ve corrected your posture and formed a very beneficial habit.
Tactics to Maintain Good Gaming PC Posture
Knowing how to sit properly is only half of it, now you have to maintain that position.
A strong will and determination will be your leading asset. Remember how important it is for your body to stay upright, and repeat the benefits in your head whenever you’re feeling like you want to give up and hunch over.
When your core physically can’t support you anymore, pause the game or take the next round off to stretch and walk around a little bit.
Dead hangs have helped me out a ton. I bought an in-door pull-up bar and I hang from it whenever my lower back is feeling stressed. I can usually get some satisfying pops out of my back while doing these stretches as well.
The process of maintaining good posture—especially if you’re correcting bad posture—can be strenuous and even painful. If you feel like you need extra assistance with setting yourself straight, consider massage, vibration, or ultrasound therapy.
These therapies really help to loosen your muscles as they reset into their natural positions.
You should also consider purchasing a standing desk with adjustable height.
Optimal posture between standing and sitting is very similar, and alternating between sitting and standing is the best way to maintain your posture. Plus, this way you won’t have to leave your game to give your back a rest.
At the end of the day, maintaining good computer posture is something every gamer should focus on.
Whatever you do, don’t go back to your old hunched ways. Posture is a habit, the position you sit in the most will be the one that your body naturally resorts to subconsciously.
This being said, try to keep your mind on your back, neck, and shoulders while you’re gaming and try to keep your back touching your chair. It’s much better to lie in bed to rest your back than it is to hunch over for a break.
If you feel like you can’t sit properly without bad pain, don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. Getting a legitimate diagnosis on your back pain will give you insight on what your problem is, and a perspective on how to correct it!
Guest post kindly provided by Jacob Tuwiner © 2019
Computer Gaming Monitor image courtesy Jordan Hyde from Pexels