As PC gamers, we love sitting down in front of our desks and spending long nights playing the games we enjoy. But as the night rolls on, so few of us realize that our posture slowly worsens. We hunch over, we stretch our necks towards our screens, and we shift around in our sitting positions. Sometimes, we might step away for a bit, but when we come back to send messages, we look down towards our screen and bend our wrists at awkward angles.
We don’t just fight our enemies in our gaming experiences, but we fight ourselves from within as well. As we remain seated in front of our keyboards, our senses get duller. We get easily distracted, especially if we have a dual monitor setup. The fatigue begins to set in as we slowly fall into a lull and become less aware of what’s going on in the game. Despite our struggle to power through, we get caught off guard and have to wait to respawn.
These are the plights that we endure on a nightly basis, so we often don’t stop to think about what’s happening within our bodies and our minds. But in the face of neck and back pain, as well as fatigue, there is one simple method that can restore us from these afflictions…standing.
It might sound simple, but someone told me it works, so I decided to try it. I spent one week playing games while standing in front of my monitor for a change of pace. I almost immediately discovered noticeable improvements all around. Here’s what gaming up-right did for my body, and my experience.
Your bad posture dwindles your gaming life
Let’s face it, we all hunch over at some point during our gaming sessions and our backs slowly begin to ache. The reason? It starts with the positions of our monitors. Because our monitor height is too low or our chair height is too high, we are always lowering our heads to get the best view. This tightens our chest muscles, weakens our backs, and can do some long-term damage. Even worse? Poor ergonomics shorten the amount of time we’re physically able to play.
When it comes to gaming, we become more prone to tunnel vision simply because we often lean in to look closer at our monitors. We literally limit our field of vision as we hunch over. The more we do this, the more we strain our eyes as well. It doesn’t matter how good your mechanics are if you can barely see or know what’s going on around you.
The best solution to these problems is to raise your peripherals to your line of sight and your arm’s natural resting position, with about a 90 degree bend in your elbows. You can achieve this by raising your monitors and lowering your keyboard and mouse. Try it out by placing your keyboard, mouse, and monitor on boxes - it might not be as secure, but it will give you a good sense of the benefits you’ll feel if you convert to a full standing desk.
If you’re ready to swap out your play station for a StandDesk, it’s a much more sustainable way to adjust the height of all your peripherals, keeping your wrists straight and preventing neck strain. The best part of electric sit-to-stand desks is that you don’t have to stay standing forever - you can switch to sitting whenever you feel like it, and since you raise and lower with the press of a button, it doesn’t take time or interrupt your flow. Standing will also keep your head at a safe viewing distance (which reduces eye strain), improve your posture, and ultimately extend the time you are able to game in your (real) life.
Sitting is dulling your senses
As a sitting gamer, there have been many times when I’ve died because I went into a fight with little attention to my physical health. When I’ve been sitting down to game, I find myself to be more sluggish in how I actually play. I get too comfortable in my seat, and as a result I get a little bit lazy.
If you have read some of our previous blog posts, such as the one secret about standing workstations, you know that doing your work standing up in the office will make you more productive. In a similar vein, standing up will keep you alert while you are playing. An awoken mind makes the difference between life and death in game. When you stand up, the blood flow to your brain and muscles increases, which heightens your alertness and your sense of urgency. Even though I can focus on the game while sitting, I’ve found that this is doubly so when I am upright.
Of course staying in one position too long is never good for you, regardless of whether you’re sitting or standing. If you do happen to own a StandDesk, you have the luxury of lowering your rig to sitting height for occasions when you don’t need to be on your toes.
You’ll enjoy your games more standing up
In my time standing up to play games, I found myself really enjoying myself a lot more. I felt like I was a part of the game itself rather than just being someone controlling a person. In games such as Starcraft, I felt like a commander giving direct orders to my units as I assessed the map from “above”. Regardless of the game I played, I felt the rush, excitement, and tension that gaming brings so much more when I stood up.
Standing up improves your immersion into the game. Think about it; how often is your character sitting down when you are controlling it? Your hero is likely to be running around and shooting. While you aren’t actually shooting a gun, standing puts you in your avatar’s shoes which makes you feel more physically involved in the game. How much better would playing Overwatch feel if you were standing? You’d feel as if you were actually running as your character!
In a way, being upright brings us back to simpler days when we would play games at the arcade. Many of us stood in front of arcade cabinets as our first gaming experience. We all remember how we felt when we were at the arcades: filled with joy, energy, and freedom. We never felt uncomfortable or listless in that environment. The gaming rig in front of us has modernized, but the feeling we get when we play our favorite games standing up will never change.
Despite what I said earlier about putting your peripherals on boxes, it is a good, temporary solution to sample a standing gaming experience without having to commit to a standing desk right away. You can also try playing a console game standing up in front of your TV. I’m sure you’ll find that you feel more present, are more connected to the game, and are genuinely enjoying yourself!