If you’re a gamer, then you know what it can be like; you turn on the console or start-up a game on your computer. Before you know it, next time you look at the clock, it’s four hours later! It happens to all of us at some point, and while mentally it doesn’t feel like much time has passed, your body definitely feels it!
While there isn’t yet enough research to know exactly how long sitting still starts to damage the body, it’s important to note, after a few minutes, your body basically shuts down as none of your muscles are being engaged. It’s also generally considered that sitting for more than 4 hours per day is excessive and enough to shorten life expectancy. At this point, your risk of obesity, which also causes other conditions starts to increase dramatically.
Exercise is important because sitting down for prolonged periods causes your body to hunch over and create muscle imbalances. These imbalances cause your neck, shoulders and upper back to become disfunctional, and are the biggest single cause of bad posture among adults.
This bad posture makes your lung capacity decrease due to less room for the diaphragm to move, causes gastro-intestinal problems due to compression of the stomach by your upper torso and can cause tension headaches due to the muscles on the back of your neck being tight.
Luckily, there are a few ways to combat and eventually repair this that aren’t major, life-changing fixes.
Firstly, ensure that for every 30 minutes you’re sitting down playing a game, you get up and stretch your body, or perform a few light exercises, such as squats, jumping jacks or a short walk. The easiest way to implement this is to set a timer, either on your phone or computer that goes off every 30 minutes!
Secondly, you could try taking up exercise; it’s been shown that working out for 60 minutes a day combats the problems of sitting all day.
Finally, a little more drastic, but get a standing desk, which will cause you to not sit down while gaming. This has the added benefit of causing your body to feel more awake than if you were sitting down, improving reaction times and problem-solving abilities!