25 Mar Taking care of your body if you’re a competitive gamer
By Emanual Banakh – Remedial Massage Therapist
Welcome to the age of information!
Everything is constantly evolving and transforming, especially in regard to technology. Old industries are being updated and new industries are emerging. From machine-assisted surgery to a career in video games, our world is changing, and with these changes comes new conditions that our human bodies experience and as a result, new injuries have emerged:
- Repetitive strain injuries to the wrist and forearm from sitting at our computers for long periods of time
- Compression of our sciatic nerve causing referral pain down the leg from driving without stretching breaks
- Overuse injuries to the thumb and neck from constantly using mobile phones
- Headaches from tension in our neck muscles from leaning in to see a screen
Yes, this age comes with many pros and many cons but with new problems comes new solutions and with a bit of research and initiative, the cons list can be shortened to better suit our needs of a pain free and functional life.
Let’s take a dive into the world of video gaming
Once thought of as casual entertainment, it has now evolved to the point where competitive gaming is one of the biggest sports in world, with thousands in attendance at tournaments and millions of dollars in prize money up for grabs. If you take a deeper look into the schedule of a competitive gamer, you will start to realise that they are quite similar to professional athletes.
On average, a competitive gamer can practice for 10 hours a day and more if a tournament is coming up. These times aren’t just spent playing the game but coming up with tactics and strategies, studying their opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and devising how to best utilise the time they have. Putting all this time into training and practising sounds awfully similar to a professional athlete preparing for their next big event and these athletes have a crew of health care practitioners servicing them to make sure they are performing at their peak.
Why then don’t these gamers that train at a professional level need similar care? Why aren’t they treating their bodies as the incredibly important assets to their professional career that they are? You might not think of them as athletes, but professional gaming is an incredibly demanding physical and mental experience with high levels of stress to cope with. Without the proper care, it’s no wonder that so many professional gamers burn out and have short careers.
So what can be done to ensure gaming is a comfortable and sustainable experience?
Firstly, take regular breaks. This is key! Every hour take a 5-10 minute break. Don’t just sit there either; grab a glass of water and take a step outside for some fresh air and fresh scenery. If this isn’t possible, then try to at least look out a window and get yourself hydrated.
Try some stretches while you’re up. The most important stretches for a gamer are neck stretches to avoid neck strains that cause headaches, glute stretches to alleviate lower back pain and forearm stretches can reduce tension in the wrist and avoid carpel tunnel strains.
Another point to bring up is your actual gaming space. How are you sitting? Is your seat comfortable and designed to support a healthy posture? A quality gaming chair can be quite costly but the benefits mean you may sit for long periods of time without causing as much damage to your body and posture as a standard chair would. The positioning of your screen also makes a huge difference. Try to keep the top of the screen slightly below eye level and far enough away that you can still read the screen without having to move your body or head to see.
How can Remedial Massage help?
If you’re experiencing aches and pains that aren’t resolving or just want to make sure you’re maintaining your physical health, it’s time to consider seeing a remedial massage therapist. These professional therapists are trained to assess where your body is at and can tailor a treatment plan that suits your specific needs.
A remedial massage will help you to recover from injuries such as lateral epicondylitis (also known as ‘tennis elbow’ but increasingly being called ‘gamer’s elbow), carpal tunnel, back and neck strains, as well as preventing them from reoccurring in the future. Your therapist can also give you stretches and exercises to do at home to help with your specific issues.
A regular remedial massage will ensure that your physical health is being maintained and can work towards improving range of motion and strength. It will also help to reduce the stress and anxiety that builds up with constant training and competing.
These tips are just the start to a healthier gaming experience. Other factors such as regular exercise and healthy nutrition play an important role not just in general health but in optimizing your performance when gaming either competitively or just for fun.
If you want to know more about how a remedial massage can address your individual needs or you would like to book an appointment, you can call us at Centre 4 Health on 9193 2170 or book online here.
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Taking care of your body if you’re a competitive gamer