There are a number of exercises you can do to help combat any sort of stiffness or pain from long gaming sessions. Best of all, you can do them right at your desk! In this article, we’ll take a look at the areas that you need to be working out to help stay ready for your favorite games, the exercises you need to be doing at your gaming desk to keep up your body’s stamina, and the ways in which you can better yourself by doing exercises at your gaming desk.
Where to Focus your Exercises?
When gaming, we’re usually using a few specific muscles and parts of the body that need to be kept on watch in order to avoid issues. Here are the places exercises should focus on to make sure there’s no injury.
Hands and Fingers
Whether you are gaming with a keyboard or controller, you are utilizing your hands and fingers more than any other part of your body. The positions in which you need to place your hands to play are designed to be low-stress for your body. Many keyboards are designed to be easy on your hands and fingers, and controllers do the same. The less your hands have to stretch and strain, and the less your fingers have to be pulled different directions, the better you will feel. Sometimes, no matter how ergonomic the controller or keyboard is, you still feel strain.
Over time, pain in your hands and fingers can develop into arthritis, which is a very serious condition. Arthritis is a chronic pain in your body that comes from over-working your bones and muscles over long periods of time. It’s crucial to do what you can to avoid arthritis, and stretching and doing exercises is a great way to combat this serious condition. Another thing to keep in mind is cramping. Cramps in your hands and fingers develop when they’re not being fully utilized to their range of motion. Staying hydrated and drinking water as well as eating balanced meals are great ways to combat cramping, but they can still come from gaming if you’re going for a long session. Both arthritis and cramping can cause your gaming session to stop, so it’s important to exercise these parts of your body.
Neck and Back
Depending on your desk and if you’re sitting or standing, neck and back injuries can occur while gaming and you may not notice them right away. For many, sitting at a gaming desk is the normal way to play. This can cause neck strain from not keeping good posture. Ideally, you’d be staring straight ahead at your monitor, but many look up or down at an angle, and that can cause muscles and tendons to pull and contour in unnatural ways. The best thing you can do for your neck is look at your screen straight on and at eye level. That can be hard to do at a sitting desk, which is why many gaming desks are moving to standing desks.
Your back can also take a beating during a gaming session long or short. When you game at a desk, it’s likely you’re not sitting up straight. Many lean towards the screen while they’re focused on the game, or lean back to relax while playing their favorite titles. Either way you look at it, it’s a dangerous move, as back injuries that start small can end up resulting in surgery down the line. By sitting down straight, it can help to relieve pain, but it’s also possible that even that can damage your back, which is why many are choosing to stand and game now.
You don’t use your legs to game like you do your hands and fingers, but it’s obvious that while sitting or standing two very different stresses are being put on your lower body muscles. If you sit while gaming, your legs are not properly flowing blood throughout your lower body, and what you’ll find is people who sit for extended periods of time of their life are more likely to experience things like stroke, heart attack, and heart disease. Not only can those major issues pop up, but it’s also possible for you to experience muscle issues from not being on your feet enough. Your lower body, like many muscles, needs to be utilized to keep up its ability and range of motion. If you spend 40 hours a week sitting, it’s likely you will end up becoming weaker week after week.
If you use a standing desk, it’s likely you need to exercise as well. While standing is better for you in terms of living a healthy lifestyle, it’s also problematic if you’re not stretching and exercising. Being on your feet for extended periods of the day can cause your muscles to spasm and strain to the point that it can actually hurt to stand. It’s always better to be on your feet rather than sitting or laying down, but it’s crucial you work your muscles in a proper manner to avoid issues.
Exercises at your Gaming Desk to Increase your Game
A few exercises can help keep your body ready for intense gaming sessions. It’s important to note that the previously discussed areas of focus aren’t the only parts of your body that need to be stretched and exercised, but they are the most common areas where gaming takes a toll. For starters, stretching is important, and a few stretches at your gaming desk will help keep you limber and ready to game your heart out.
Lower Body Exercises
Focus first and foremost on your lower body. By doing toe touches, where you bend down and touch your toes, you stretch your legs so they feel the range of motion needed to be ready to extend and stand for long periods of time. You can also do calf raises, which are exercises that involve standing up, and rising to your tip-toes in order to extend the calf muscle and stretch out the limits of its motion. The important thing about these two stretches is that you be ideally doing them daily to ensure that you’re feeling your best and not letting the muscles go unused. Clots and strains happen much more often in the lower body when there aren’t any opportunities being taken to stretch and extend them.
Hands and Fingers
Stretches for your hands and fingers are also essential to your gaming abilities. When you use a keyboard for a long time, or even a controller, your hands contour to the position they rest in while gaming, and they can get stiff and as discussed develop into more serious issues. The best stretches for your hand and fingers take no time at all, and can be done at your gaming desk. First extend all fingers outward, and make sure to hold it for 10-12 seconds. Then repeat 10 times on each hand. This allows the fingers to extend to their full range of motion, and this will help them feel ready for anything, including longer sessions spent gaming.
Next, it’s crucial to bend the wrist carefully in a backwards motion in order to extend the ways in which your hand can move during intense gaming sessions at your gaming desk. The best way to do this is to use the opposite hand to bend the hand back at the wrist by pulling or pushing back on the base of the fingers, holding for 8-10 seconds while allowing yourself to do so without experiencing pain. Make sure if it starts to hurt to stop. You’ve gone too far if you’re feeling pain.
Lastly, stretching your neck and back is incredibly important to keep up a proper posture. For your neck, two exercises are crucial for keeping stiffness away from the neck. First, lean back your head and rotate it in a full circle clockwise 5 times, and then counterclockwise 5 times as well. This allows your neck to feel its full range of motion and get a sense for each and every inch of its muscles and tendons. By doing so, you allow your neck to be completely open, and if it starts to get stiff, it’ll be easier to identify right away. If you being to feel stiffness, complete this stretch again.
The next stretch is also for your neck. Look up to the ceiling or sky and open your mouth as if you were saying “yah” so each inch of your mouth is stretched completely. Hold for 3 seconds, and then move your lips to the position as if you were saying “hooooo” and hold for 5 seconds. Do each of these 6 times each, and you’ll feel the sides of your neck stretching upwards to increase stability in your neck and upper spine. Doing both neck exercises allows you to stay in a still position while gaming for longer, and again, when you start to feel stiff or any sort of neck pain, repeat these exercises.
Stretching your back can be essential to avoiding pain over a long period of time spent gaming. The best thing you can do for your back is rotate the back muscles. Lift both arms up to shoulder height and rotate your back from your waist each way as far as it will go. Do not do this exercise quickly; take your time and really feel every inch of your back being stretched. Focusing while stretching allows you to truly feel as if you’re in tune with your body, and the more you understand your body, the better off you’ll be in the long run. Another stretch you can do for your back is to lay flat on the floor near your gaming desk and stretch your arms out as far as you can. Again, do not continue to stretch if you feel pain. The goal is to loosen things up, not strain them to the point of discomfort, or worse, injury. The goal with back exercises is to extend the back and allow it to feel limber so that if you do not move it much for a period of time, it won’t feel confined, but rather rested. The more you sit around, the more you need to be stretching your back on a regular basis. It’s crucial; back injuries cause difficulties walking, running, and standing in general. Treat your back with the care you would your heart or brain.
These exercises you can do at your gaming desk are essential to keeping the focus on your games and less on your health and well being. You should be doing these things to ensure you can game without any issues. With busy lives, gaming is our break away from the struggles and stresses of life. You should do everything you can to make sure to keep yourself happy and healthy and you can do all of this from your gaming desk. You spend a lot of money on great gaming accessories for your gaming desk so you should take care of yourself just like you would your hardware. Whether you stand or sit at your desk, make sure you’re always considering the time spent gaming and what it may be doing to your body. You don’t need to stop gaming, but you should consider adding some exercises to your daily routine, and these exercises are meant to keep you gaming for life. After all, gaming means a lot to many people, and it would be a tragedy to lose the ability to game over not caring for your body.
For now, start with these exercises, and you will begin to find less tension in your hands and fingers, less strain in your neck and back, and less stiffness in your legs and lower body. This is the easiest way to improve your gaming experience so you can focus on honing your skills and being the best in the game!