Can playing video games be bad for your health? Why is ergonomics important in gaming? What is RSI and what can help you to cope with it? What tools can you use to improve performance while decreasing your risk of injury?
There are many debatable views on playing video games like whether they are addictive, if they decrease your attention span, if they will make a person more aggressive, or play a role in causing obesity.
The fact is that video games are here to stay and the peripherals we currently choose for gaming interaction is what we’re most interested in. Especially involving the physical positioning and repetitive movements included in all types of gaming.
What is RSI? RSI stands for repetitive strain injuries caused by prolonged repeated movements. Many times these can be attributed to conditions that lead to trigger finger, tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Bringing much discomfort and long term effects.
Below we will discuss the most common areas of impact while gaming that you should be aware of. These can directly affect both your comfort and well-being, especially if you are regularly logging huge amounts of time exploring new game titles.
Let’s be honest, any activity if done excessively can negative effects on our health. Like anything else finding a balance and using the right tools can definitely help you lower your risk for injury.
1. Take regular breaks: At a minimum, for every hour of play, get out of that chair and stand up. Walk around for at least 5 to10 minutes. Allow your blood to circulate and refresh yourself. Intense gaming sessions can create a lot of stress on your nervous system and heart, so pace yourself.
2. Perform stretches: Stretching before, after, and especially in between long term gaming sessions can definitely help to keep the tension down and relieve some of the pains due to excessive play.
3. Screen adjustments: Start by centring your monitor with a slight tilt upward, approximately arm’s length distance away (with the exception of screens larger than 20 inches). Position the monitor so that the top viewing area is about 3 inches above eye level. Be mindful of reflective lighting that may cause glare.
4. Good posture: When your body is in proper alignment you feel better and thus can remain in such a position longer. Particularly for PC gamers, you’ll want to find a neutral position, where your feet are flat on the floor, your knees and thighs are level to the floor or slightly lower than your hips. Make sure to have a lumbar support for the curve of your back. Shoulder and elbows are relaxed at your sides. Arms, hands, and wrists are straight and parallel to the floor while supported by armrests.
5. Using the right tools: When you factor in the amount of rapid and repetitive movements involved in your choice of gaming, it only makes sense to use the most effective and comfortable set up. With today’s technology, there are many more choices when it comes to:
For those who know that they are committed to hardcore hours of playing, why not consider some of the steps involved in safeguarding your health and overall comfort?
Be aware of the critical areas of concern when it comes to your repetitive actions and their effects on the body. Not to mention factors like the distance your eyes are from your computer screen.
Using common sense in taking short breaks and realising how important it is, not only to your health but your clarity that you give yourself a mental rest. Many times this will allow you to get a fresh perspective on your next challenge.
Being able to locate quality gear for a relaxing and healthy gaming set up, can help prevent injuries including RSI, as well as neck and back issues. Good luck and good gaming health to you!