The human body, as incredible as it may sound, isn’t made for gaming. It’s made for walking, running, climbing, lifting, pulling and pushing (and eating and reproducing, naturally, but to be able to do that safely, it has to do all the stuff listed).
Therefor, intense and/or lengthy sessions of gaming can cause a variety of phsyical nuisances. In a series of blogposts called Gamer Pains, I will describe some common gaming/computer related conditions that I suffered/suffer from, and how I usually get rid of them. I will also give you some tips regarding your gaming gear.
In this introduction post, I won’t go into any details. Still, there is a couple of general advice for you.
Do you even lift, brul?
Go to the gym. Lift heavy things. As much good daily walks do, (let’s all have a moment of mockful laughter here, then fall into shameful silence, because we don’t go out on daily walks at all), your gaming muscles won’t benefit from it. They need to work properly to be able to put up with the micromovements that keyboards and mice offer.
If you hate gyms, find something at home that you can lift. Buy a pair of dumbbells with loose weights, or fill plastic bags with milkcartons or bottles of water, use skewers, buckets with sand – anything you can think of.
If you don’t mind going to the gym, but are seriously uncomfortable around barbells and dumbbells and those groaning, sweating, testosterone reeking Gym Guys (not always male, but mostly) – use the machines. Free weights do give better results if you are familiar with the techniques required, because you activate more muscles at the same time, but machines are a good alternative, no matter what Gym Guys or orthodox crossfitters may argue. The point is, after all, to build up muscle strength, not bulk up for next Marvel movie audition.
Yes, Old Man Barlo, shrimpin’ IS easy
When you sit at the computer, you curl up, right? Shoulders being pulled forward/upward, upper body and thighs contract like a shrimp, and we are all familiar with the vulture neck, aren’t we. Straighten up! Straighten out! Have a posture as proud as your inner gamer! And relax in your seat. At once. For this, you need strong core muscles – those in your belly and back. One great exercise is the plank. It can be horribly boring. It can be less boring if you watch a good tv-show on your tablet meanwhile.
To me, stretching is also helping when I shrimp up too much and my shoulders ache and my hips protest when I get up from the chair. Preferably, do your stretching when your muscles are warmed up by exercise or a walk, or do it very carefully. There are various theories about stretching, and it’s benefits are being debated, but my personal experience is that my hips, shoulders and upper arms feel much better if I remember to do some modest stretching regularly.
Next: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.