Is Your Battle Station Fighting Against Your Body?
As gamers, there is nothing more important than our battle stations. These powerful computer consoles allow us to engage in warfare with combatants both real and imagined across the vast digital realm. However, the same workstations that can strike fear in alien races can also cause issues for your body.
You may not feel the effects yet, but the way you view, use, and sit in front of your computer could be causing damage that can quickly escalate if you don’t take proper precautions. If you are a lifelong, hardcore gamer, then heed these tips to keep your body and mind in tip-top shape.
Beware of your Chair
If you are like most people, you likely sit in a chair while you are engaging your battle station, but if you are not sitting correctly, or for too long, you could be doing great harm to your body. Sitting for long periods of time can wear you down by weakening your muscles, preventing you from getting the exercise you need, and can even impact your veins, which could result in blood clots. The fact is, no matter how close you are to the boss fight, you need to get up and stretch every 30 minutes or so. Take that time to do some jumping jacks or get a glass of water.
It’s not only about sitting for too long, but also how you are sitting. If you are leaning forward or too far back or craning your neck, you could cause further aches and pains in the places you need them the least. As you are upgrading your ultimate game room, choose ergonomic furniture that will improve your physical health as well as your efficiency during tough co-ops. The proper chair should have your thighs parallel to the ground, your feet flat, and have a headrest that supports your head and puts less pressure on your back and neck.
While being proactive with your gaming health is the key, those who have used their work stations incorrectly for too long may already have sore joints and chronic pain. Finding a cure can be tough, but you want to stay away from pain killers as they can cause more harm than good. Instead, many professionals are suggesting the use of Cannabidiol, or CBD, which can help with pain, inflammation, and even anxiety, all without the negative side effects.
The Rest of your Battle Station
Sitting correctly is just one preventive measure for protecting your body against a harmful battle station. Staring at a screen all day can also be dangerous for your eyes and can lead to irritation, headaches, and even additional neck pain as you crane closer. Everyone wants to have healthy eyes for as long as possible, so make sure your monitor is at least an arm’s length away from your face, and if you are having trouble seeing from that far back, consult an optometrist.
You also want to give your eyes a break at regular intervals, as many health professionals recommend that you look at an object 20 feet away every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds. If you are already noticing irritation to your eyes while playing, you may try adjusting the brightness on your monitor, or you can invest in a pair of computer glasses, which can help to block out some of the harmful blue light that leads to this irritation. There are also many computer monitors built specifically for those dealing with eye strain that automatically filters out the blue light before it hits your eyes and also eliminates flickering.
Since a good majority of your playing success is reliant on your hands, you also want to look at an ergonomic mouse and keyboard setup. If you are using a flat keyboard, then you are forcing your wrists into an unnatural alignment and keeping them like that for too long could lead to pain and even carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s the same deal with your mouse, so you need to buy the right equipment. If you are a hardcore gamer, invest in a gaming keyboard that will create proper wrist alignment with its natural design. A good gaming mouse will be customizable to your hand for ultimate comfort.
Don’t Forget to Stay Healthy
Video games can take a long time to complete, and if you are trying to be the next viral sensation, you may put everything you have into your gaming experience. However, being so invested can lead many gamers to forget the basics of how to care for themselves. For instance, those who play for a career can prioritize the game over everything else, but they often do not get enough sleep.
Make it a routine to go to sleep at the same time each night and get seven to eight hours of shut-eye. Proper sleep can help reduce sickness and stress and will help you be more alert during intense daytime gaming sessions. When you wake up in the morning, before you head to the computer chair, get in a workout. A morning exercise routine can put you in the proper mind space and clear out the cobwebs, while also boosting your energy, and of course, helping you to stay fit and in shape.
This doesn’t mean you have to run 10 miles every day, but some light cardio mixed with weights and resistance training during a 30-minute session will get your mind and body right for the day ahead. Also, many gamers try to stay awake and in the zone by drinking energy drinks, but some studies show that such beverages can lead to heart, kidney, and dental problems. Instead, try smoothies, tea, or fresh juice.
As a competitive gamer, it may feel like there is nothing more important than getting that high score, but it is also important not to lose sight of your health. Following these preventive tips will not only keep you in good shape, but they will improve your gaming performance as well.