Could Standing Up Be the Secret to Gaming Success?
Could Standing Up Be the Secret to Gaming Success?
Binge gaming is on the rise. How many hours a day do you spend gaming - and how many of them are spent seated? In the Limelight Networks 2021 State of Online Gaming report, around a third of their 4,000 global respondents said they gamed for five hours in a row, up 13% from 2020.
Unsurprisingly, the amount of time people spent gaming during lockdown showed a marked increase. If this sounds like you, and you add your gaming hours to the other hours you spend sitting down (eating, travelling, watching TV etc), perhaps it’s setting off alarm bells?
Public health bodies, including the World Health Organization, highlight that a lack of physical activity is now one of the top four causes of preventable death. In addition to improving your health, however, you may find that regularly swapping between chair and feet will actually make you a better gamer.
Health Risks of Prolonged Sitting
As with work performance, spending static hours in front of your screen or console is likely to have a detrimental effect on your gaming performance too. Acer recommends taking a gaming break every 60-90 minutes to keep you fresh and alert. Yes, screen breaks are a good thing, but given the health risks of long hours spent seated, we recommend you think hard about changing posture a lot more frequently. Ideally, every 20 minutes.
When you sit, your body systems slow right down. You are moving less, you are not supporting your body weight, your weight-bearing joints and muscles are largely inactive, your metabolic rate drops. You increase your risk of conditions such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, back aches and thrombosis. Read more about the health risks of prolonged sitting here.
People who sit at a desk in front of a screen often also suffer from poor posture. Shoulders slouch, your core slumps and fatigue sets in. Poor habitual neck positioning (also known as Forward Head Posture) can lead to long-term semi-permanent damage including painful shortening of the muscles of the back of the neck, and compression of the cervical vertebrae.
At the same time, your productivity dips, creativity crumbles and your attention starts to waver.
Can Standing Up While Gaming Improve Performance?
Switching regularly between a seated and standing position whether working or gaming helps boost concentration and activate blood flood, so improves reasoning and reaction time.
Some sit-stand gamers find that using an adjustable standing desk also makes for more accurate positioning of wrists for mouse/console usage whether sitting or standing. Micro-adjustments mean your desktop can always be at optimal height for your preferences and needs.
A better engaged core and use of muscles when standing can also enhance the immersive gaming experience and means your metabolism remains activated even after you have returned to a seated position after standing. You will feel alert, refreshed and motivated.
From a practical point of view, with a sit-stand desk you can also benefit from more vertical storage space for equipment – our desks are robust and capable of rising with no wobble and up to 100kg weight attached. Sit-Stand.Com desks come in a variety of sizes with desktops in our Yo-Yo DESK® PRO range as wide as 180cm. We also have models that will fit a corner space.
According to blogger Liam Jones : "Gamers say the standing experience enhances immersive gameplay. This can certainly be the case with FPS games. But gaming while standing up can be a bit more difficult in racing simulators. Overall, gaming while standing up can be better, but it doesn’t have to replace gaming while sitting.
The key is to make sure your gaming time is not static – switch frequently between seated and standing positions. Perhaps set an alarm to remind you to move.
Tips for Better Gaming Posture
As mentioned, uninterrupted sedentary time brings health risks - avoidable if you switch from sitting, to playing or watching others play while on your feet.
The best and easiest way to enable a healthy sit-stand gaming habit is by using an electric standing desk with pre-set positions, such as our Yo-Yo DESK® PRO. This allows you to swap from sitting to standing and vice versa at the push of a button, your desktop stopping at the perfect height every time without having to even pause your game.
Gaming has been associated with obesity as a result of moving too little, but another common complaint is eye strain. Gamers commonly suffer visual complaints, which can lead to headaches and reduced concentration. Ensuring your screens are correctly positioned using monitor arms will help. They also reduce desktop clutter and make for a more ordered gaming space.
Invest in cable management to prevent a tangle of wires – we recommend a cable tray or basket – and a wireless headset which sit-stand gamers say is a must-have.
How Anti-fatigue Mats Can Help Gamers
Using a stand-up desk helps stretch out your body, realign your spine and open up your diaphragm. Your posture and metabolism benefit, as does your mental attitude. Standing desk users report feelings of improved creativity and motivation when operating from an upright position, as well as pleasant fatigue after a period spent on their feet.
Do be sure to stay active even while gaming from a standing position – an anti-fatigue mat or balance board will help encourage you to ‘fidget’, making micro-movements while on your feet, improving calorie burn and preventing stress on your joints.
A dedicated mat is recommended by health professionals to help reduce potential discomfort, lessen the risk of musculoskeletal strains and boost blood circulation.
Our Yo-Yo MAT® ACTIVE is ideal. Its additional support and flexzone contours encourage you to take steps and move your feet and legs without you even thinking about it. Find out more from our expert physio Linda’s video about anti-fatigue mats and how and why to use them.
There are plenty of benefits to gaming – including social interaction, improved hand – eye coordination, improved concentration and spatial reasoning – but from a health point of view, it also brings health risks, for younger and older gamers alike. Standing desks are an effective way to minimise them.