If you’re going to tell me when I was younger that kids about my age will soon rule the planet with their crazy APM capabilities – I don’t know how Starcraft II stars are able to do 300 actions per minute – I would have probably played Pac-Man seriously.
But apparently, that’s not humanly possible unless you’re using an ergonomically designed gaming mouse to do the job.
An ergonomic gaming equipment allows you to achieve mind-blowing in-game results. It allows your real body to be at the best condition for physical and cognitive associations.
Table of Contents
- The Often Ignored Side Of Gaming
- Pro-Gamers Suffering From Game-Related Injury
- Importance Gaming Ergonomics
- You’ve Been Sitting Wrong! Achieve The Perfect PC Gaming Posture
- Getting Ready for Battle: Choosing The Right Ergonomic Equipment
- Man Down! What To Do When You’re Already Injured
- Preventing Injuries: Healthy Routines
The Often Ignored Side Of Gaming
In a world where 155 million people in America has their hands glued on the keyboard and eyes fixed to the monitor, it’s not a surprise that it’s going to eventually take a toll to our health.
Shockingly, 42% of Americans dedicate 3 hours of their time every week into playing video games – if that’s not a worldwide trend, I don’t know what is.
In fact, because of the increasing popularity of gaming industries, Pediatrics International even released a study about how “excessive television-game playing” will eventually cause our muscles to stiff. And this is mostly situated in our shoulder area.
If we’re able to spend $22.41 billion on games, then I’m pretty sure we can spare a couple of bucks to invest on gaming ergonomics – it’s not like it can save us from muscle cramps.
Well, it can.
Gamers deserve a bit more love, honestly.
Gaming is not an easy task – sure it might not be as life-threatening as the work of a professional bull rider. Or you’re not prone to injuries like a Cheerleader – yes, behind their creepy, unwavering smiles, they’re actually dying inside.
But sitting in a chair for 12-16 hours is not a joke. Not to mention, the jungler gets blamed for everything. Yeah, I’m talking about being blamed for not warding by the same special snowflakes who aren’t doing it as well. And don’t get me started how hard it is to support every lane.
But who am I to judge, right?
At first, you might think that raking in millions by participating in eSports is the easiest job in the world – if it is, everyone would be swimming in dollars.
Heck, if that’s the case, I’d already be riding in my private jet for a long vacation in Hawaii with my pet Tiger named Bruce Lee. But last time I checked, I’m still in my room, eating ice cream from a tub, bawling my eyes out on K-Drama films. So maybe my trip’s going to be delayed for a couple of…decades.
Which leads me back to my original concern as to why Gaming Ergonomics is important – we can’t be part of the 20 Richest League Of Legends Pro-Gamers if we’re struggling with our crappy “gaming” equipment bought way back from the early 2000’s.
Thanks for the birthday gift mom. You the real MVP.
But it’s time to UPGRADE!
Almost 14 hours of practice per day, 6 days a week will often result to injuries in a gamer’s hands and wrists. Here are some professional eSports athletes who suffer from injuries. Let their experience serve as a warning for your health.
Ladislav “GuardiaN” Kovács
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Olof “olofmeister” Kajbjer
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Lee “Flash” Young Ho
Jung “Mvp” Jong Hyun
Spine and Neck Issues
Clinton “Fear” Loomis
Hai “Hai” Lam
Geoff “Incontrol” Robinson
Blood clot in knee which may lead to pulmonary embolism
Heo "pawN" Won-seok
Importance Gaming Ergonomics
Dr. Sara M. Velez, has advised to specifically purchase a gaming chair as its design can prevent back pain and other injuries from happening in the future.
Despite the fact that ergonomics is new to us – it’s only been accepted in the 1950’s – it has already revolutionized how people and companies view office and gaming health. Corporations are actually investing in ergonomic office equipment (*cough* Herman Miller *cough*) in an attempt to reduce absenteeism caused by work-related injuries.
If you’re serious about quitting your day-job and earn your next income straight out from gaming without compromising your health, better start investing on gaming ergonomics.
Okay, I take that back. This is actually for anyone who wants the ultimate gaming experience minus the back pains and cramps – go get yourself an UPGRADE!
You’ve Been Sitting Wrong! Achieve The Perfect PC Gaming Posture
I’ve noticed that a lot of gamers aren’t well-educated on the consequences of not practicing proper posture. For those who are guilty of slouching your back for hours, WAKE UP!
As a fellow gamer myself, I know how much care we put onto our gaming characters to avoid unnecessary damage from occurring. But maybe we’re forgetting one important detail.
But don’t worry, that’s what I’m here for. I’m going to help you achieve a better gaming posture for better in-game results and lowering the risk of fatigue and muscle injury, of course.
Getting Ready for Battle: Choosing The Right Ergonomic Equipment
It’s already a given fact that our in-game characters are always equipped with the best of armor and items that our abilities could offer – so why shouldn’t we?
The first thing you should always ask yourself when purchasing a gaming chair is “Will it improve my posture?” If the answer is yes, then you can add it to your shortlist.
You know that once you start playing, your butt is going to be stuck on that chair for a long period of time. But if you’re still using that old office chair that’s been used by your grandpa, you’ll exactly become like your grandpa.
But unfortunately, what you’re going to inherit is cardiovascular disease and back pain.
Investing on the best ergonomically designed chair will not only prevent spinal misalignment and joint pain, but it will also evidently increase your productivity rate by 17%!
It has been recommended by National Institute of Health that the ideal chair would feature the necessary adjustments to aid you in getting the proper posture.
Some features you have to consider:
For a more in-depth discussion on chairs, we’ve already shortlisted the best gaming chair reviews for you.
In any case, finding a responsive mouse is a must.
I still remember when I had to use my old mouse for gaming, I had to put a lot pressure on each click so that it’d function – I ended up straining my finger!
Another example was when I borrowed a friend’s mouse. It was pretty good going at first – the mouse was easy to use and quite responsive too. Until I realized that it’s too big for my hand and I end up hurting my wrist for a couple of days.
Finding a good, responsive mouse isn’t enough, it must fit in to the type of games you’re into as incorrect mouse choice may end up straining your entire hand (not to mention limit your full potential).
Honestly, choosing an ergonomic mouse is all about your preference. As for my taste, I would always go for a gaming mouse which has a grippable scroll wheel and wide DPS range. I currently own a mouse with large and accessible left-mounted controls, and my experience with it has been doing flawlessly well!
The entire discussion above focuses on gaming mice, which honestly isn’t ergonomic per se – more like comfortable. If you want a mouse that’s truly ergonomic, you’re looking at mice that looks like this. It looks like something out of sci-fi movie, but it encourages a healthy neutral hand and wrist position, something like a handshake.
Surprisingly, these mice are pretty affordable as well!
Keyboards are to die for – no, literally. You’re in-game character could potentially die if you can’t maneuver controls fast enough.
Much like gaming mice, there are no truly ergonomic gaming keywords, just models that fit right in through your preference – and for most casual gamers, a comfortable keyboard is more than enough.
I asked a gamer friend of mine what’s her buying criteria for keyboards and she said:
“I always make sure that the keys are precisely organized to follow the hands’ natural resting position. I also make sure that the keyboard’s key travel distance is comfortable. I don’t have time to unreasonably reach out for the keys – too much work, I’m lazy.”
And most gamers would probably say the same.
However, if you’re a hardcore gamers or just prone to hand and wrist injuries, you might prefer a keyboard that is legitimately ergonomic. There are available ergonomic keyboards on Amazon. The catch is they’re not as good-looking or as responsive as the “gaming” ones.
If you think that choosing a gaming monitor is hard, you’re actually right. This is an important aspect, because you know, you can’t exactly see anything with your headless gaming set.
If you’re budget allows, choose a gaming monitor that you can mount to a wall or is compatible with adjustable mounts or stands.
This way you can adjust the monitor height and tilt so it aligns perfectly with your eye level.
Setting up a monitor this way, although a bit more expensive, saves you money in the long run – those future trips to the chiropractor or ortho due to neck pain will cost money, you know.
Here’s a great article to find the best 1440p gaming monitor.
Even if you have everything down from the best gaming monitor to the best gaming headset – you still wouldn’t look cool if you’re sitting on the floor.
People rarely show interest into desks because it doesn’t affect your performance in-game. And that’s nothing more but a myth.
If your desk is too high, you will be putting unnecessary strain on your shoulders, not to mention the improper blood flow resulting from your forearms sitting too high on the desk.
On the other hand, if your desk is too low, it may encourage you to slouch – straining your back and adding unnecessary weight on your spine and neck.
As a general rule, try to find a gaming desk where your hands can bend in 90-degree angle.
Gaming desks these days are light and durable. And as a plus, they have a wider space to put for other important things – like a bag of Cheetos and a can of soda. Unlike your mom’s ancient desk, ergonomically friendly desks are adjustable and portable. Not to mention, its design is eye-catching.
Man Down! What To Do When You’re Already Injured
Gaming addiction without proper procedure is still an unhealthy addiction. Okay, so we might not be part of the military. Nor do we carry the risk of having our legs amputated from battle.
But we still need the love we deserve! I mean, the moment when you can’t even hold your phone without your wrist feeling like it is being dragged to hell and back.
However, it doesn’t start off as that grave. Commonly, you’ll feel an unknown tingling from your wrist and a bit of numbness originating from your thumb.
Reduce Your Gaming Time (Or Stop Altogether)
You may check out how to properly position your wrist to avoid Carpal Tunnel, and give your injured parts some time to rest and heal. Unfortunately, recovering might take you weeks – yes, that means games are off-limits.
At least you have one-tap games to entertain you. I hope you still have Flappy Bird installed.
Invest In Braces and Wrist Guards
Thanks to ergonomic technology, wrist braces are able to support and alleviate pain.
Look for RSI or thumb braces that offer comfortable support, but still allows you to freely maneuver your wrist.
These braces are perfect for supporting repetitive wrist movements that may potentially affect your health and performance.
We aren’t doctors though, so if you’re feeling anything weird with your hands, go and seek professional advice.
Preventing Injuries: Healthy Routines
Just like with other sports, there’s also a set of warmups and cooldowns to follow before, during, and after your intense battle session.
Training your hands
I’m not exactly talking about doing hand plank or sit-ups, but regular training of your hand actually works wonders.
Research study has proven that if you regularly practice to exercise your fingers, wrists, hands, and forearms, you’re more likely be able to save yourself from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
These exercises don’t burn a lot of calories, so don’t expect much if you want to drop a couple of pounds. Here’s a video that’ll teach you how to do it.
It’s hard to stop playing a game which you’ve only started getting the feel for. Seriously, I feel like I’m being sucked into a black hole of 3D graphics and gameplay.
And as unhealthy as this may be, we also tend to skip meals just so we could finish a quest. Don’t deny – at some point, we all do that.
But hitting the pause button every here and now doesn’t sound so bad. Taking a 30 minute break in between games is pretty beneficial both to your health and game flow.
It gives your muscles time to relax, your mind to zone out for a bit, and it’ll prevent you from straining your eyes too much.
I’d also like to point out that when you allow yourself to take a breather, you’re able to concentrate on your game better leading to a faster and more productive gameplay.
There are gamer specific exercises you can do everyday to keep your wrist, neck, and back healthy. The best resource I’ve found is from Dr. Levi Harrison’s YouTube channel.
I particularly like these hand and wrist exercises: