If there is one thing that gaming and desk jobs have in common, it’s encouraging poor sitting posture. It is practically an epidemic. Many of us hunch forward for hours, staring at a bright screen, and it puts severe strain on our spine. this leads to back painspinal weakness, joint degeneration, lack of gravity, and other painful conditions.
Have you ever thought to yourself, I want to get better at gaming, but I don’t want to ruin my life? We’re here to help with a special week dedicated to All about video games and health.
After sitting in terrible posture for years, I could really feel these effects. In particular, I began to experience severe discomfort and pain along the entire spine when lying on my back, as if I had a tight knot in it. Since I always fell asleep and spent my days hunched over at my keyboard, my spine wasn’t used to lying flat! I also began to realize the consequences for my standing as well. My head looked slightly forward. It looked “off”. My neck muscles felt weak after years of tilting my head forward.
I decided I was going to try to maintain a good posture while playing, but inevitably and unconsciously I slipped into a hunch. Rigorous methods were necessary.
That’s how I discovered something I like to call the “neck workout”. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Using the weight of your head, and slow, steady progression, you can Strengthen your neck And keep it upright, with good posture, more easily. If you’re interested in some player gains, here are two great exercises.
Standard head lift
You can do this very simple exercise at home or in the gym.
All you have to do is find something flat and comfortable to lie on that allows your head to hang over the edge. A firm bench or bed works fine, but a gym bench is probably the most convenient.
Lying on your back, your head completely unsupported by the edge, slowly lower it back as far as you can, then slowly raise it to a slight chin tuck. Repeat this as often as you can, aiming for about 30 repetitions. Aim to do three sets as often as possible, less than 30.
If you can do three sets of 30 easily, with just your head weight, you can add a small exercise weight. I recommend small increments of 0.25 lbs. We’ll discuss how to add and support that weight in a moment.
We will do the same as before, but face down. We train the other side of the neck with this.
With your head just off the edge, slowly lower your head into a hanging position, then raise it again to align with your body. Don’t try to lift your head back much more. Normal alignment is what we strive for. Do your best to get to three sets of 30 repetitions; These are high volume and light weight exercises.
When training your neck, it is essential that you play it safe and take it slow. It is important to remember that Neck damage can have profound effectsbut it would be fine if we relaxed and calmed down on things.
For a standard cape, place a towel across your forehead. This is to create friction to keep the weight secure and to act as a buffer from your forehead. Gently place the 0.25-pound weight against your forehead, hold, and pull it down toward you slightly. Maintain this grip and continue the exercise.
For the downward-facing lift, we’ll do the same. Place the towel and weight on the back of your head, using your hands to keep the weight securely in place, and continue as normal.
Benefits of neck exercises
After doing this for a few days, I noticed that it became easier to support the weight of my neck. This made it less taxing to maintain good posture, even unconsciously, while playing.
Some people also swear that developing a thicker neck in spite of training can enhance your physical attractiveness. I’ll leave you to make up your own opinions, but it sounds convincing enough.
In my own experience, other benefits include relief from back tension, with improved postural habits, as well as an overall increase in confidence in your ability to walk with your head upright.
In terms of my situation, the improvement is day and night. I feel like I have a greater presence in the eyes of those around me. Curved, I always felt a little invisible. Maybe it’s purely mental, but confidence is mental! I also felt encouraged to gradually do more exercises and improve my overall fitness by starting slowly with neck training. Perhaps most importantly, my gaming habits are healthier too, and gaming for ages doesn’t strain my back anywhere near as bad as it once did.
At the very least, it’s worth a try; Then you can decide if neck exercises are for you or not!