Gamers tend to spend a lot of time sitting down in front of a screen. There aren’t many alternatives unless you’re playing Just Dance, Ring Fit Adventure, or one of the more active VR games. Standing desks are becoming more and more popular, but odds are you still spend most of your time sitting down.
Sedentary behavior such as this can have serious health consequences, but a lot of it can be mitigated simply by adjusting the way you sit. The benefits aren’t just for gamers, either — Americans as a whole spend more time sitting than ever before. You can enjoy the benefits of good posture when sitting, whether you’re in online classes, working from home, or climbing the ranks in VALORANT.
We here at High Ground Gaming are all about helping our audience and encouraging healthy gaming behaviors. Read on for a breakdown of the benefits of good posture for gamers!
What Does Good Posture Look Like?
According to the U.S. Natural Library of Medicine, it’s important to maintain good dynamic and static posture. Dynamic posture is how you hold yourself when you’re moving, and static posture is how you hold yourself when you’re not. According to their website:
“The key to good posture is the position of your spine. Your spine has three natural curves — at your neck, mid back, and low back. Correct posture should maintain these curves, but not increase them. Your head should be above your shoulders, and the top of your shoulder should be over the hips.”
They recommend frequently switching positions, taking brief walks, stretching, keeping your legs uncrossed, making sure your feet reach either the floor or a footrest, and relaxing your shoulders. You should also keep your elbows close to your body and make sure your back, thighs, and hips are supported while sitting. Your back and shins should be at 90-degree angles from the floor. In short, sit up straight.
This can be tricky since everyone’s bodies are different. To get the benefits of good posture, you need to make sure that your furniture gives you proper support. Ergonomic desks and chairs can help you get the angles and support you need — they’re often adjustable and accommodate a range of heights and body types.
The Benefits of Good Posture
We’ve covered what good posture looks like and how to get it, but what are the benefits of using good posture? Let’s find out!
1. Less Back Pain
Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first. Your body has what’s called a “neutral position,” in which your head, neck, spine, and hips are all aligned. This is the ideal posture that you should try to maintain as much as possible to relieve strain on your upper and lower back.
Slouching puts stress on muscles and joints at angles that aren’t meant to bear weight. This strain can build up over time to serious injury. Avoiding undue stress and pain isn’t just one of the benefits of good posture aging people should worry about, either — back pain in adolescents and young adults is reportedly just as common as back pain in older adults.
Sitting up straight can both relieve existing back pain and prevent you from developing issues in the future. Check out our ergonomics guide for gamers to get more information about properly setting up your station. A good back brace can help with this too.
2. Maintain Your Joints
It’s also important to consider the long-term benefits of good posture. Poor posture puts unnecessary stress on the connective tissue in your joints. This can eventually lead to misalignment in your musculoskeletal system and the tissue between your spinal columns wearing away, ultimately making you more prone to serious back injuries.
Proper posture will help you maintain your flexibility and joint health, helping you stay mobile as you age.
3. Better Digestion
Your skeleton isn’t the only thing affected when you slouch. Bending forward puts pressure on your stomach and intestines, making it harder for you to digest your food.
Think of it like this. Your digestive tract is like a freeway. Slouching essentially closes off all traffic, making it impossible for the cars to get through. As you continue to slouch, traffic continues to back up. This causes stomach aches and cramps (not to mention what happens when the freeway finally opens again).
Sitting upright allows things to move smoothly and for your digestion to continue functioning normally.
4. Work Your Core
Sitting upright engages your core muscles. It’s not exactly a fitness boot camp, but it burns a few calories and keeps your abdominal muscles from slipping into disuse. This is partly why good posture can feel difficult at first — it takes time for your core to get used to holding your body upright.
Ultimately, it’s worth it, though. Your muscles will become stronger, making an upright position feel less like effort and more like a natural state.
Good posture also has a slimming effect, if that’s something you’re interested in. Slouching distends the belly muscles, making it look like you have more of a gut than you actually do. Since good posture tightens those muscles, it can make your stomach appear slimmer.
5. More Oxygen
Sit up straight and take a deep breath. Now lean forward and try again. It’s harder the second time, right?
Your lower ribs put pressure on your diaphragm when you slouch. The singers among you will know that the diaphragm is the muscle responsible for compressing and decompressing your lungs. Leaning forward or slouching forces your lungs into a partially compressed state and preventing you from getting a full breath of air. You might not even notice it while it’s happening, but it can lead to multiple problems over time.
6. Reduced Headaches and Muscle Cramps
Some of these problems are physical. Your body needs oxygen for a lot of reasons — when you don’t get enough of it, the issues range from mild discomfort to straight-up unhealthy. Improving your posture can help relieve muscle cramps and headaches caused by lack of oxygen and poor blood flow.
As a side note, headaches can also stem from neck pain or straining your eyes. In addition to keeping good posture, make sure your monitor is only an arm-length from your eyes and mounted high enough that you don’t need to crane your neck to see it. A pair of blue-light blocking glasses can also help with eye strain!
7. Better Focus
Improved breathing also leads to the mental benefits of good posture. Blood and oxygen flow also plays a pivotal role in your mind’s ability to focus. Your brain needs air, calories, and warmth to function properly — sitting with good posture allows these to flow freely, making you more alert and ready to absorb information. It also helps reduce anxiety, improve your mood, and make you feel more energized.
Focus is important whether you’re studying, working, or gaming. It can help you write a paper or spot that sniper that’s been camping you and your friends. Focus is one of the best benefits of good posture for kids doing school from home.
8. Boost in Confidence
A study from Ohio State University found that sitting with good posture leads to increased confidence.
“Researchers found that people who were told to sit up straight were more likely to believe thoughts they wrote down while in that posture concerning whether they were qualified for a job.
“On the other hand, those who were slumped over their desks were less likely to accept these written-down feelings about their own qualifications.”
You can chop this up to the boost in mental acuity, the lack of pain, or simply the extra inch you gain in height when you extend your back, but the science speaks for itself.
What’s more, other people perceive you as more confident (even if you don’t feel that way). Got a job interview or a presentation? Sitting upright may give you an edge.
We hope you enjoyed reading about the benefits of good posture and that maybe it convinced a few of you to straighten up!
We all love gaming here, but it’s essential to keep in mind the dangers of poor posture when sitting for too long. Remember to take breaks and stretch every once and a while. Then you can come back with a vengeance and play like you’ve never played before! Your character might have infinite lives, but you only have one body, so take care of it.
Thanks for reading.