Esports doctor Lindsey Migliore is on a mission to keep gamers injury-free and performing at their best. Here are five things she recommends incorporating into your everyday routine to improve your cognitive, mental and physical health.
1. Warm up before gaming
“The most common areas of pain for gamers are the hands, wrist and back. Stretching and strengthening these areas is key to staying healthy, injury-free, and increasing your range of motion.”
01 Wrist Flexion Stretch: Straighten one arm in front of you with the palm facing down. With the other hand, grasp the fingers and gently pull towards you.
02 Shoulder + Back Stretch: Bring one arm across the body at chest height. Hook that arm with the elbow crease of the opposite arm, gently pulling it closer to the body.
03 Core + Back Stretch: Sit up straight and reach both arms above your head. Intertwine the fingers and stretch the palms up towards the ceiling.
04 Wrist Extensors Stretch: Straighten one arm in front of you with the palm facing down. Make a fist, and with the other hand, grab the fist from underneath to gently pull towards you.
05 Back, Shoulder, Leg Stretch: Stand up straight a few steps from your chair. Engage the core and reach out to grasp the back of the chair with both hands, bending at the waist.
06 Hip + Buttock Stretch: Cross your leg, placing your ankle on top of the opposite leg. Gently bend forward at the waist.
“Keep a reusable water bottle next to you at all times – one with a trustworthy seal! Staying hydrated can be hard, especially if gamers don’t have a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, which are excellent sources of hydration. For most, the goal is eight glasses a day. Sipping over a longer period of time is much preferred to chugging! For caffeine and energy drinks, it's a good rule of thumb to have a glass of water before and after.”
3. Daily exercise
“Even 10 minutes every day can have huge effects on in-game performance, sleep, and other aspects of health. Exercise can improve reaction times, increase alertness, and make learning new skills easier. New research shows that a six-minute walk every two hours of gaming can improve cognitive skills.
Aerobic exercise – meaning elevating your heart rate – is the most beneficial form. A brisk walk outside, squats or a faster-paced yoga session are perfect. Any movement is great! Motion is lotion for the joints.”
4. Pay attention to posture and ergonomics
“It’s essential to set up your gaming area ergonomically and carry out posture checks during breaks. An ideal posture is one with a tight core, shoulders back, and neck in line with the chest. Avoid the typical ‘gamer posture’ of forward slumped shoulders and head jutting out! Remember, your best posture is your next posture.
The most important component of ergonomic gear is fit. For example, if your hands are bigger or smaller than most, choose a mouse option that you can handle comfortably to avoid over-stretching your tendons and muscles.”
5. TAKE BREAKS
“Get up out of the chair, rest your eyes, and move between matches. Alternating between sitting and standing is best, rather than focusing on full-time sitting or standing. For the eyes, practise the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at a spot 20 feet [6 metres] away for 20 seconds.”
INVEST IN ERGONOMICS
Tap into your ideal posture with the right ergonomic gear, from the gaming chair to sit-to-stand desk to accessories.