Gaming can be a fun and exciting way to unwind, but if you’re seriously into your esports, then you probably spend hours in front of a computer or console, hunched over your keyboard or controller every day. This can take its toll on your body and cause discomfort, pain, and even injury that could see you being knocked out of the game for a while if you’re forced to take time off to recover. That’s why gaming ergonomics is so important.
Take a look at these 10 tips to gaming ergonomics that will help keep you comfortable and optimise your performance while you play.
1. Start with the basics
Before you start setting up your gaming station, it’s important to understand the basics of ergonomics. Ergonomics is the science of designing and arranging things so that people can interact with them safely, comfortably, and efficiently. When it comes to gaming, this means making sure your gaming equipment is arranged in a way that supports your body, ensures you’re optimally positioned and reduces the risk of injury in the long run.
2. Choose the right chair
Your chair is one of the most important parts of your gaming setup. You want a chair that is comfortable and provides good lumbar support for your back and neck. Look for one that has adjustable height and armrests, as well as a tilting backrest, so you can adjust it to fit your body. Make sure the chair is also stable and can support your weight. Most importantly, don’t be swayed by clever marketing and feel like you have to buy a “gaming chair” to be comfortable – there are many ergonomic office chairs available for you to choose from that can support your posture just as well!
3. Adjust your desk
Once you have your chair, you might have to adjust your desk or table height as well. While this is influenced by your height, the general rule of thumb to remember is that your arms should be at a 90-degree angle when you’re typing or using your mouse, and your feet should be flat on the floor. If your desk is too high or too low, you can adjust the height with risers, by placing a board underneath the desk legs or investing in an electronically adjustable option, like the StepUp Desk or Elevate Desk, which allow you to set your desk at just the right height for you. If you’re going desk shopping, remember to make sure you also have enough space for your gaming setup, including your monitor, keyboard, and mouse. A cluttered desk can lead to poor posture and discomfort.
4. Position your monitor
Proper monitor placement is crucial for good gaming ergonomics. Your monitor should be at eye level to reduce neck strain from having to angle your head downwards to view the screen. If your monitor is too low, you can raise it with a monitor stand, or by placing books underneath it. If you’re using a laptop, consider using a laptop stand or external keyboard and mouse to bring the screen to eye level. To reduce eye strain, it’s also important to ensure your monitor is the right distance from your eyes – aim to position it so that it’s about an arm’s length away from your face.
5. Use a wrist rest
If you’re using a keyboard or mouse for long periods of time, you may experience wrist pain caused by incorrect posture and repetitive use strain. A wrist rest can help alleviate this pain by providing support for your wrists. Look for a wrist rest that is soft and comfortable – there are many gel wrist rests available – and that will help you maintain the optimal position when typing or moving your mouse. You can also find keyboard and mouse pads with built-in wrist rests.
6. Take breaks
No matter how comfortable your gaming setup is, sitting in the same position for hours can cause stiffness and pain. That’s why it’s important to take breaks and move your body. Taking a break every hour or so to stretch, walk around, and rest your eyes can help prevent discomfort and injury. You can also try doing some simple exercises or stretches to keep your body limber and prevent stiffness and pain. Now, we all know how easy it is to lose track of time when you’re deep into gameplay, so be sure to set an alarm to remind you!
7. Consider ergonomic peripherals
There are a number of gaming accessories and peripherals that are designed to not only improve your gaming performance, but your ergonomics too. These include ergonomic mice, keyboards, and game controllers that are designed to reduce strain and discomfort. If you’re a serious gamer, it might be worth considering investing in some of these to take your comfort to the next level. When choosing these peripherals, look for ones that fit your hand size and shape. Some gaming mice even have customizable weights and grips, so be sure to test them out until you find the perfect one for you.
8. Mind your posture
Poor posture can increase your risk of developing lower back and neck pain, as well as a whole host of other repetitive strain injuries, such as mouse elbow (think cubital tunnel syndrome) and gamer’s thumb (yes, there is such a thing)! Proper posture is key to maintaining a healthy and comfortable gaming experience. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and your spine is aligned. Avoid slouching or leaning forward, as this can strain your neck and back muscles. Try to keep your elbows close to your body, and keep your wrists straight when typing or using a mouse. You may want to consider using a posture corrector or back brace to provide support and help you maintain good posture.
9. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is important for overall health and well-being, but it’s especially important when gaming. And while you probably survive on coffee and energy drinks when playing late night sessions, drinking water can help prevent eye strain, headaches, and fatigue, and can actually help keep you more energised than caffeine does! Keep a water bottle handy and drink regularly throughout your gaming session.
10. Customise your setup
Every gamer is unique and every one has their own specific likes and dislikes. That’s why it’s so important to customise your gaming setup to fit your needs and preferences. Experiment with different chair heights, desk heights, and monitor positions to find what works best for you. You can also try using different peripherals or accessories to make your gaming experience more comfortable and enjoyable.
Don’t let discomfort hold you back from enjoying your favourite games. By following these tips for gaming ergonomics, and taking the time to set up your gaming station properly, you can reduce the risk of injury, and ensure a more comfortable gaming experience. Not sure where to start? Contact us to find out more about our ergonomic desks and other accessories and let us help you create the perfect gaming environment to set you up for success.