The very first healthy habit a true gamer needs to establish is a correct posture. This is more important than a cigar to Graves, except it is much easier to get. For me it took 2 weeks to make it automatic, but from time to time I still catch myself slouching deeper into the chair.
I struggled with this for a long time before I took action to fix my posture. Here’s what pushed me to do it:
- Pain. My lower back was hurting and my neck was always sore and stiff. I have degenerative disc disease, which was caused by a combination of factors: incorrect posture while riding bmx, incorrect lifting technique and bad sitting positions while gaming or studying.
- Energy. I felt exhausted while gaming, because my muscles and ligaments were doing extra work to hold me upwards.
- Focus. I couldn’t focus for long periods of time, because of the pain and loss of energy. I needed to change positions frequently.
- Appearance. It might be that you don't relate to the issues above, which is great, but appearance is a great reason to work on your posture. I had a round back, with my shoulder bent forward, which wasn't very attractive. Correct posture made me look taller, stronger and more confident. This wasn't very helpful to improve my gaming skills, but it definitely helped me to be more confident among people.
To fix your posture, you will need reminders to check the way you sit. League of legends is perfect for this, because you have many breaks that allow you to shift focus to other things.
Correct gaming posture
Before I get into more details on how to establish a good posture for gaming, here's what a good gaming posture should look like:
- Shoulders moved back.
- Feet flat on the ground.
- Knees shouldn't be touching the chair.
- Back straight or on backrest.
- Elbows next to you body, preferably on armrest.
- Head straight up.
- Keyboard and mouse at the same distance from your body.
Here's a great example of SK Telecom T1 during LCK. Only Faker has a correct posture. What if that's the reason he is the best player in the world? Probably not, but it does create a good appearance.
Take a look at Wolf (player at the bottom), his shoulders and head are tilted forward, causing extra pressure on his lower back. This will cause issues in the future and, honestly, it doesn't look very comfortable. I start to feel exhausted by just imagining sitting like that. All it would take for these players to establish a correct posture would be to move their shoulders back and tilting their heads up. Simple as that.
Necessary things to establish a correct gaming posture.
- Monitor elevated so that the top is at eye-level.
- A keyboard and a mouse at the same distance from your body.
- A reminder somewhere near.
An ergonomic gaming chair is a good investment, but it's not necessary to go and spend hundreds of dollars on it right away. A normal office chair with armrests and back support will do the job. I would also recommend an expensive ergonomic chair, as I believe that it is simply a marketing trick. Of course it has some marginal benefits, but people had correct postures long before these were created.
Here’s how you establish a good posture.
Sit down in your chair and take notes of the bullet points before. Move yourself closer to the backrest; move your shoulders and shoulder blades back; tilt your head vertically; put your arms on the armrests; put your feet flat on the ground and try to have both hands at the same distance from your body. The latter is not impossible if you game on a laptop and use its keyboard.
When 5 minutes pass, you'll notice that you have completely forgotten about the step 1 and you're sitting with your legs crossed, head tilted and shoulders moved forward. That's the way it is, but don't worry, because it takes time to establish a healthy habit.
This is what helped me to exclude step 2.
Write down or memorize that you need to check on your posture. This is important as you need an external trigger to remember this when you start.
I printed this picture and put it on the wall next to me.
Whenever I died, I would move my eyes away from the screen and look around. I would see the picture, get disgusted about that big hump and remember to check my posture. This worked like a charm until I didn’t need the picture anymore and I had successfully established a healthy habit.
That's it. No more steps. Establishing a correct posture is probably the easiest habit out there. It's so because our bodies were designed to do it in the first place. Other habits are not natural and hence are harder to establish.
Get your cigar, folks! Treat yourselves and your spine.
Every time you're in a que, picking champ, waiting for the game to load or waiting to spawn, move your eyes away from the screen and try to remember to check your posture. External triggers work best so abuse it!