Posture when playing video games is very important. It’s common to see both kids and adults that have a natural postural hunch back when walking around. Bad posture can be a hindrance to physical pain in our daily lives.
Fixing bad posture when playing video games requires users to sit tall, legs bent at a 90-degree angle so the body doesn’t hunch forward. It’s also recommended the player doesn’t sit still for more than 20 minutes at a time.
Video games are often played for 1-4 hours at a time. With the recent explosion of Twitch and streaming, players may even stream for longer than 4 hours. Sitting with poor posture for hours at a time can have long term effects on your body.
Why Is Posture Important?
Posture is important for long term health. As the human race has gotten more technologically advanced, sitting has become part of our daily routine.
Whether it be sitting 6 hours a day in school, slumped over at a computer for a desk job, or even watching TV after a long day of manual labor, we’re all exposed to sitting.
In order to function properly, the body needs to have a full range of movement with no hiccups. Bad posture often tightens muscles and restricts everyday movement. Consistently bad posture can even lead to a number of bad health factors.
According to acatoday.org , a health website which specializes in health & wellness:
Poor posture can lead to excessive strain on our postural muscles and may even cause them to relax when held in certain positions for long periods of time. For example, you can typically see this in people who bend forward at the waist for a prolonged time in the workplace. Their postural muscles are more prone to injury and back pain.
Several factors contribute to poor posture–most commonly, stress, obesity, pregnancy, weak postural muscles, abnormally tight muscles, and high-heeled shoes. In addition, decreased flexibility, a poor work environment, incorrect working posture, and unhealthy sitting and standing habits can also contribute to poor body positioning.
Posture is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle from a movement standpoint. If you’re an athlete who enjoys playing video games (which most do), you’ll especially want to be aware of your posture. For example, according to clevelandclinic.org:
- Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly.
- Helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
- Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
- Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
- Prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
- Prevents strain or overuse problems.
- Prevents backache and muscular pain.
- Contributes to a good appearance.
Athletes With Bad Posture
Athletes with bad posture or sitting habits can “lock-up” certain muscle groups that can restrict movements. If you’re speed training for football or using ladders to increase your foot quickness, range of motion, and how the body reacts to every movement is important.
Limiting the range of motion can shorten stride lengths and lead to muscle pulls. Athletes with bad posture or sitting habits can “lock-up” certain muscle groups that can restrict movements.
If you’re speed training for football or using ladders to increase your foot quickness, range of motion, and how the body reacts to every movement is important. Limiting the range of motion can shorten stride lengths and lead to muscle pulls.
Most players will sit like Ninja does in the photo above. Slightly leaned forward (kyphotic) with both shoulders slumped forward with forwarding head posture. Players with good eyes will often have a non-aggressive forward lean, on the other side, players with bad eyes may squint and get closer to the screen.
The lower half of the body is often stuck at the chair height, whether it be on the ground or in a mid-level chair. We lock our hips into this one position for hours on end, only getting up to go to the fridge or to the bathroom.
Referencing the football player or non eSport athlete, the hips being locked up for this long will result in an insufficient range of motion. At the bottom of the article, we have ways to help loosen the hips up and ways to stay flexible during hours of gaming.
What Is Good Posture When Gaming?
Having good posture relies on a few key components that overtime can help improve your lifestyle. Instead of trying all of the items listed below, pick one or two off the list and work your way up.
Here are different ways to improve your sitting, according to clevelandclinic.org , which can help improve your sitting lifestyle:
- Sit up with your back straight and your shoulders back. Your buttocks should touch the back of your chair.
- All 3 normal back curves should be present while sitting. A small, rolled-up towel or a lumbar roll can be used to help you maintain the normal curves in your back.
- Sit at the end of your chair and slouch completely.
- Draw yourself up and accentuate the curve of your back as far as possible. Hold for a few seconds.
- Release the position slightly (about 10 degrees). This is a good sitting posture.
- Distribute your body weight evenly on both hips.
- Bend your knees at a right angle. Keep your knees even with or slightly higher than your hips. (use a footrest or stool if necessary). Your legs should not be crossed.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor.
- Try to avoid sitting in the same position for more than 30 minutes.
- At work, adjust your chair height and work station so you can sit up close to your work and tilt it up at you. Rest your elbows and arms on your chair or desk, keeping your shoulders relaxed.
- When sitting in a chair that rolls and pivots, don’t twist at the waist while sitting. Instead, turn your whole body.
- When standing up from the sitting position, move to the front of the seat of your chair. Stand up by straightening your legs. Avoid bending forward at your waist. Immediately stretch your back by doing 10 standing backbends.
The effect that bad posture can have on your body is long-lasting. To put it into a visual, your head weighs roughly 12 pounds. When slouching or hunched over, gravity comes into play and adds even more weight that your back and spine have to support.
Below is a fantastic image from ABC that demonstrates it the lasting effects.
Good Posture Playing Console & Mobile Games
So how does this work with playing console games? Playing console games, especially Fortnite or any storyline game like Grand Theft Auto can tie a player in for hours.
Applying the principles above, find a chair that is comfortable enough to play in, but also supports the back and spine. Gaming chairs or even chairs that have lumbar support are great when the player applies the appropriate posture.
Good Posture Playing PC games
Hunching over at a computer is a bit different than the poor posture a console player can endure.
If a player is gaming on a laptop, they may experience the opposite of a hunch back, but rather their hips and shoulders being rolled forward. In both cases, it’s important to make sure the shoulders or pulled back and the spine/head is in an upright position.
How To Fix Tight Muscles When Gaming
Players who have aching muscle pains when they play video games can help alleviate some of the pain by correcting their posture. Before every gaming session, there are a few things that you can do (it’ll only take a few minutes, or even when the game is loading).
If you don’t have a foam roller, go buy one immediately! It helps to break up the fascia and the soft tissue that’s causing the tight muscles. Rolling out your legs, and your upper back is a great way to unwind the muscles and stay loose. Foam Rollers are extremely cheap and can be found here on Amazon.
Don’t play lacrosse, no worries! Use any type of tennis ball or hardball that can help break up some of that muscle tissue. Similar to how you would use a foam roller, use the ball to hit hard to reach places like your pectoral muscles or the scapula. Use a doorway or a wall to significantly impact those areas that are hard to reach with a foam roller. A rug or a soft ground surface may not have the same feel as using a wall or doorway.
Doing a simple static stretch can help stretch and lengthen out the muscles that are conducted while sitting all day. Touching your toes for a 10 count, as well as sitting on the ground to stretch both your legs and lower back will help loosen up the muscles.
Related Q & A
What Is Considered Bad Posture?
Having your shoulder and back hunched over is considered bad posture. If your head leans forward and is not stacked on top of your shoulders, this can result in developing the “hunch back”. Players may also a develop a belly first mentality if they sit with the hips leading and back only touching the chair.
How Does Bad Posture Affect Your Health?
Having bad posture, especially from a younger age, can hurt the way your body grows. If it’s trying to grow but has to fight the weight of a 12 pound head against the gravity, it’s going to cause a natural “forward posture”
How Do I Fix My Gaming Posture
Start with one item at a time to begin fixing your posture. Whether it be having both feet flat on the floor, pulling the shoulders back, or making sure the head isn’t learning forward, start with one item on our list and take baby steps to ensure better long term posture.