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Play like a pro: Tips to get your gaming posture right
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Play like a pro: Tips to get your gaming posture right

Prolonged periods of sitting while gaming, often in non-ergonomic positions, can lead to ‘gamer's posture’, which could be avoided through mindful posture and some exercises
Sitting for prolonged periods with poor posture exerts excessive pressure on the lumbar spine.
The slouched positions and endless hours of screen time can threaten your vitality and weaken your body’s defence.

As you boot up your gaming rig and engage in thrilling battles and navigate mind-boggling landscapes, a silent adversary, known as gamer’s posture, lurks in the shadows, ready to ambush your well-being.

“I started gaming in 2016. I used to play Clash of Clans on Minecraft back in 2016,” says Vaibhav Kashyap, a.k.a. Humanoid (in gaming circles), an Esports athlete, from Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh. “In 2019, PUBG MOBILE came out, so since then I’ve been playing this game.”

Being a competitive gamer, Kashyap spent hours playing, and it took a toll on his posture. “Until 2021, it was very tough for me to even maintain good posture not just while playing but other times too. My gaming posture gave me a habit of keeping my back arched and not sitting straight, so it was very difficult.”

The slouched positions and endless hours of screen time can threaten your vitality and weaken your body’s defence.

“In case you have a prolonged sitting activity that stretches beyond half an hour, your spine, hip joint, and muscles get a lot of strain,” says Dr Kumardev Arivind Rajamanya, head of department and lead consultant of orthopedics at Aster Whitefield, Bengaluru. “If in case you are also bending your head and working/playing, then, your neck muscles and your bones in your neck also succumb to wear and tear quite sooner.”

Effects of gaming for long hours

Forward head posture: Commonly observed in gamers, it involves the head protruding forward, straining the neck and upper back muscles.

Rounded shoulders: Spending hours hunched over a controller or keyboard can make the shoulders roll forward. This tightens the chest muscles and weakens the upper back muscles resulting in shoulder pain and restricted mobility.

Thoracic kyphosis: A gaming posture with prolonged forward-leaning position will round the upper back, leading to increased thoracic curvature accompanied by stiffness, discomfort, and reduced flexibility in the mid-back region.

Lower back pain: Sitting for prolonged periods with poor posture exerts excessive pressure on the lumbar spine, leading to lower back pain due to increased stress on the spinal discs and muscles anchoring the lower back.

Muscle imbalance: Gaming posture, which is not ergonomically sound, can cause muscles like the hip flexors, to become tight while others, like the glutes, to become weak. “The muscles get stiff and sore, your joints and everything start taking a lot of stress and the structures which are in between your bones also develop early wear tear over some time,” says Dr Rajamanya.

Reduced circulation and flexibility: Sitting for extended periods can wreak havoc on blood circulation leading to stiff joints and reduced flexibility, affecting overall mobility and comfort.

Tips for protecting posture for gamers

Just as you strategize the in-game tactics, devise a plan to counter the effects of prolonged gaming sessions on the posture.

Get an ergonomic setup: Research and invest in an ergonomic gaming chair and desk to maintain a neutral spine position. “Try to have an ergonomic setup where your hips should be slightly higher as compared to your knees when you’re sitting,” says Dr Rajamanya.

“Your foot should be on an inclined stool, or it should be at least parallel to the floor,” adds Dr Rajmanya. “Your thighs should be ideally either parallel to the floor, or your hip should be 5 to 10 degrees higher than your knees. Your armrest should be in line with the desk so that your shoulder is not strained due to a lack of support. You should have a back support, where the natural curve of the back is maintained. Use wrist support while using a mouse.”

Adjust gaming equipment to minimize strain. Position controllers, keyboards, and the mouse within comfortable distance to prevent unnecessary reaching or twisting.

Take regular breaks: “So, every 10 minutes you just stand up for a minute and try to not keep your joint locked up at a particular posture beyond 10 minutes. There must be mobility in between, otherwise, the muscles will start getting fatigued and the back will start getting strained,” says Dr Rajamanya.

Posture awareness: Be mindful of your posture while gaming. When you catch yourself slacking and slouching, simply fixing it by sitting upright is a good start to having a good posture. “Keep everything at eye level and avoid bending your neck too much to use your gadgets. Also, we say that you know, there should be a distance between your gadget and your eyesight. Your eyes, at least about 45 to 70 centimeters,” says Dr Rajamanya.

Plan a customized exercise plan and stretching routine: Engage in physical activities or exercises outside of gaming to strengthen your core, back, and postural muscles. Practice regular stretching exercises that target your neck, shoulders, back, and hips.

“Gamers don’t want to follow any sort of advice if it comes to their posture or physical health. But honestly, I would suggest they hit the gym and take breaks for at least half an hour or one hour,” says Kashyap. “They should do some cardio and yoga or something to just keep them fit.

Mindful gaming: Take moments during gameplay and check your posture. Use cues like in-game loading screens to readjust and relax those tensed muscles.

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