When gaming, it’s natural to often forget the time and spend hours sitting and staring at a computer or television screen. There are of course various negatives to this, which I will go into below as well as what you can do to improve your situation with some simple tips.
At the end of the day, gaming is a hobby that is designed to be enjoyable, it’ll do you no good to walk away from a session with a sore back and tired, red eyes, or you’ll likely look like the things you were just trying to shoot.
The effects of long term sessions
The following is not guaranteed to happen for everyone obviously as everyone is different. But even the most stalwart individual will find themselves having problems if they repeatedly sit for hours on end staring at a screen for months.
Generally, the effects can range from a sore back and legs to bloodshot or tired and puffy eyes. Depending on certain health conditions you might even find you have issues walking after sitting in the same place for a long time. Neck ache and stiff limbs are frequent side effects too, as are pins and needles or limbs going numb depending on how you’re sitting.
I should also mention that there is no confirmed connection between looking at a screen and sight difficulties that can develop over time like short or long-sightedness.
It all sounds like a dangerous and horrible minefield doesn’t it?
Well, it isn’t. And you can help yourself by doing certain things to counteract what I mentioned just above, soon enough it’ll become second nature and you won’t even have to think about it.
The gaming chair – Your butt’s best friend.
It sounds a bit much to just by a chair for gaming, but with how common gaming is now as a hobby and a career path, gaming chairs have really taken off for a long time now. They are reasonably priced too, depending on who you shop with.
These chairs were specifically designed to support your back and neck and keep you in a decent sitting posture. They often feature wheels so you can zip around the room if you wish and many if not all have the ability to rotate. It’s relatively common for them to be customisable upon ordering now too. Colour and other features can be added or changed to your liking.
These chairs go further than just being somewhere comfortable to sit however, they can actively improve your gaming experience. Some have the ability to be hooked up to your computer via USB and will vibrate when certain things happen in game, they might also have speakers within the back headrest to give you surround sound experience although this will largely be a moot point if you’re wearing a headset.
Keep hydrated and fed!
Trust me, I’m not trying to be your doctor but keeping yourself hydrated and well-fed can massively help you out during long sessions.
When I say well-fed I don’t mean overstuffing your face or snacking a lot while you game either, although a small snack here or there is okay. Have a drink nearby you can sip from, not only will it take your eyes off the screen for a moment and give them a very brief break but it’ll help hydrate your body and give it energy. Becoming dehydrated will lead to very bad issues if left for a long time, ranging from headaches to migraines or feeling very tired.
But what to drink? There is so much choice! I hear you cry.
Well, that is an easy one to answer. Simple water will do, tap or the bottled stuff. There are even some caffeine-free energy drinks out there specifically designed for gamers that you can purchase, or you could just grab yourself some red bull.
Drinking more, especially water will have positive effects on your body too, so really it’s a win even if you’re not gaming.
Take regular breaks
I’m a gamer too so I know full well the appeal of just five more minutes or just another level. But taking regular breaks will really help you.
With all the water you’re drinking now (You are, right?) you’ll likely be going to the loo more than before so this counts as a break. But in all seriousness every hour or so you should pause the game or save it or whatever so you don’t end up dying and get up and have a walk around for a few minutes. If you smoke, go outside and have one. The fresh air will do you a lot of good and you’ll come back feeling refreshed.
The walking around will get your blood pumping again and stop your legs getting stiff. I’d advise you do this even if you have invested in a gaming chair. It’ll help stretch your back out too and hopefully avoid aches and pains.
I’m not asking you to leave the house or run to the shops (Unless you want to!) and the game will still be there when you get back for you to sink back in and enjoy.
The end goal
So what does all the above equal at the end of the day?
A happier, healthier you that can game for longer periods! Beat back the naysayers that gaming is bad by keeping yourself healthy while playing. If the friends you’re playing with get moody that you’re taking a break that’s on them, not you. (And I’d suggest you get better friends!)
If you role-play within a game as the real nerds do (This very much includes me, I enjoy role play) we tend to have a saying and that would be “RL always comes first.” RL being real life. And that applies even if you’re not role-playing. Look after yourself first and the game second. If you need to leave to take a break, do so.
Remember that as with the equipment you need to game with, you’re the first point where it all starts. If you’re making yourself ill or not taking care of yourself it will have a knock-on effect on your gaming too and you’ll end up sucking hard. You don’t want that, right?
As always, happy gaming!
Founder of Venom Gaming