Gaming posture is incredibly important considering the amount of time gamers spend in seated positions. Fortunately, gaming posture has become a hot topic in esports and in the gaming industry, in general.
Many health care professionals, gamers, and organizations are trying to bring awareness to the importance of body mechanics during long hours of practicing, streaming, or competing.
Perhaps the most important part of sitting is the break from sitting. Regardless of how well you maintain your posture, sitting can cause health problems. Read our post, Physical health guide to your gaming grind, to learn more about how to break apart your routine.
Answer a few questions to see if your gaming posture needs a tune-up. Then, read below for our best advice on how to avoid the aches and pains of prolonged sitting. And remember, take breaks!
The term “posture” refers to the position you hold your body while standing or sitting. Gaming posture, therefore, is simply the position you hold your body while gaming. And, most often, this is in a seated position.
When analyzing posture, we look at the entire person from the ground up, and each part of the body is significant in an attempt to maintain health & wellness while sitting and gaming.
On this page, we will take a look at the optimal body positions for gaming posture, but first, it is important to understand the risks of less-than-optimal body positions.
First and foremost, sitting in a chair is not an anatomically normal position no matter what kind of chair you sit in.
The natural resting position for a human is a squat position; for example, you may notice toddlers squat on their heels to rest. Similarly, in areas of the world that are less developed where chairs are not always available, people will squat on their heels to rest.
For those of us who have been sitting in chairs for most of our lives, our bodies have become accustomed to this abnormal resting position. In fact, most people in more developed parts of the world are unable to stay balanced or experience pain or discomfort in a squat position—our joints lack mobility and/or our muscles are too tight.
Because chairs are anatomically unnatural, “proper gaming posture” or “proper seated posture” are difficult phrases to promote. Based on the anatomically appropriate resting position, sitting in a chair is not proper posture.
However, we can and should attempt to make the best of a bad situation. There is certainly a “more appropriate” way to sit that can help reduce the risks of prolonged, seated gaming posture.
You may have heard the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking,” in an attempt to emphasize the health risks associated with prolonged sitting.
Truthfully, is sitting as harmful as smoking? No, absolutely not. Smoking cigarettes is still significantly worse than sitting; however, the risks of prolonged sitting should not be understated.
Poor posture and prolonged sitting increase the risk for:
Seated postures may create forces greater than 150% of body weight on the spine. The increased pressure on the discs and bones of the spine can lead to early degeneration (i.e. arthritis or “spondylosis”) which then leads to more health problems.,
One of these health problems is called stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal or neural canals where the spinal cord and nerves travel and exit the spinal column. Stenosis may lead to spinal cord and nerve root irritation, causing symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms, trunk, or legs.
Prolonged seated postures have the potential to create remarkable tightness or imbalance in musculature. Most importantly are the effects in the hip and shoulder regions of the body.
Chronic seated positions create tightness in the muscles in the front of the body—the hip flexors and the pectoral muscles, among others—that all tend to pull the body forward into a flexed position.
Additionally, the muscles of the back of the body—which hold the body upright against gravity—become weak and inhibited.
Complications of these muscular imbalances (upper crossed or lower crossed syndromes) may include muscular pain, joint pain, tension-type headaches, compression of nerves or blood vessels (such as thoracic outlet syndrome), and early degeneration of joints throughout the body.,
Sometimes, a simple reminder can help to keep your body in a better position. However, prolonged sitting—especially in a poor position—will create the muscular imbalances described earlier.
When this happens, simply thinking about sitting more appropriately may still be ineffective. So, we developed Power-Up Posture with 21 exercise and stretches to help improve your posture!
Power-Up Posture is an exercise and stretch program designed to counter the ill-effects of prolonged sitting—more specifically—the ill-effects of prolonged sitting with poor posture.
Sitting for extended periods of time puts your body in an unfavorable position. In response, some muscles will become hypertonic (tight). Other muscles will become inhibited (weak).
Fortunately, Power-Up Posture is a comprehensive program to stretch and relax hypertonic muscles and to stimulate activation and strengthening of inhibited muscles.
Through participation of this program, you can effectively prevent these muscular imbalances and reduce pain associated with prolonged sitting and poor posture.
As previously mentioned, there is no “proper gaming posture.” But, here are some tips to minimize the risks associated with prolonged sitting.
To relieve pressure on the discs in the neck and to help keep the muscles in your shoulders & neck relaxed:
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 Palmgren PJ, Sandström PJ, Lundqvist FJ, Heikkilä H. Improvement after chiropractic care in cervicocephalic kinesthetic sensibility and subjective pain intensity in patients with nontraumatic chronic neck pain. J Manip & Physiol Ther. 2006 Feb;29(2):100-06.
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 Vernon HT. The effectiveness of chiropractic manipulation in the treatment of headache: an exploration in the literature. J Manip & Physiol Ther. 1995;18(9):611-17.
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