Do you take care of your posture in front of the PC? Some ergonomic tips

There is only one body, and it is our responsibility (or our benefit) to take care of it in all aspects of our life; that includes our hobbies, even when they are so “peaceful” for the body itself as are video games.

Although, unless we play titles that require movement of our body, the video game can be much less harmful to our body than, for example, an activity such as hiking (for example) without a route, its seasonality and Long periods of time That playing our video games requires can also play tricks on us in the long run.

The incarnation of these problems usually manifests itself in injuries, minor and major, and in posture problems. As in all stationary activities, the best tool we have to combat these problems is ergonomics and good manners; In this text we are going to talk about them focusing on the figure of the desk, to tell you about the three bases of ergonomics in our gaming space.

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The principles of ergonomics and the three keys

According to Spanish Ergonomics Association (AEE) ergonomics is defined as the set of applied knowledge for the adaptation of artificial elements to the needs, limitations and characteristics of its users; its goal is not comfort itself, but efficiency and wholesomeness through comfortable use.

“Ergonomics seeks better performance in the use of material through the humanization of the means used”

Within the framework of our desk as a play area, this concept does not enter with the intention of improving efficiency, but rather that of health, that continued exposure to our own hobby does not harm us.

With this idea in mind, and with the advice of associations such as CENEA or the aforementioned AEE, our three maxims for a good posture at the desk are:

  • Seeking a neural posture at all times while we play, as a way to avoid possible injuries in the long term.
  • Apply rules of good conduct, such as “the three twenties” to prevent mental exhaustion during long gaming sessions (although it is also applicable to work) on a regular basis.
  • Take into account the adaptation of our play space in aspects as fundamental as lighting, acclimatization, noise, comfort, and many other factors.

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The neutral posture: the holy grail of ergonomics

If gameplay is the basis of a good video game, the so-called “Neutral posture” is the backbone of ergonomics applied to our desk. It is the position from which, without any type and impediment, we can make use of the space on the desk in a comfortable and safe way for our body.

Many elements intervene in it, from the peripherals that we use during our gaming sessions, to our position at said desk; but it is the latter, the position, the one that has a greater weight in maintaining a neutral posture.

If we want to achieve this type of posture, we can rely on works such as the work carried out by EWI Works in workspaces, focused on the study of the creation of workspaces at home, but that we can apply for our purpose, the three keys to get a neutral stance are:

  • Using complete rest from our chair, maintaining a 90 degree angle as far as possible, with your feet firmly on the floor. A good desk chair is the best quality for this task.
  • Get a distance and height with respect to the desk through which our shoulders remain relaxed, neither in tension, nor slumped; always with the neck in a firm and comfortable position. For this, it is tremendously important to have a good desk, one that can be placed at the necessary height.
  • Avoid twisting, the unnecessary displacements, or the excessive pressure on our wrists, extending to our own hands, as they are two of the most delicate areas in the face of continued exposure from a bad position; as far as possible, with furniture that we have, otherwise, opting for ergonomic solutions.

The benefits behind it are clear: less impact on the body of maintaining a stationary position, a more comfortable use of the equipment, without the possibility of injury, and a more efficient (and logical) use of the playing space; which is why it is interesting to get this type of position.

The rules of good conduct: a necessary practice for our body

If the game sessions are not intense, one or two hours, maintain a good posture, have the right equipment for it, and use a little common sense it may be enough to prevent most of the problems caused by these types of activities in the long run.

However, the sessions of one or two hours are a strange chimera in the current video game, very focused on the creation of absorbing experiences, intense competition environments, or, simply, very long games that keep us more of this time in front of the screen, either occasionally or regularly, depending on the time of each one.

“In many cases, these rules of good conduct are nothing more than the application of common sense with a few additional steps, but it does not hurt to remember their existence”

This is where what we have affectionately called “standards of good conduct” come in, which is nothing more than a nickname to categorize standards such as the “three twenties”, so applicable to our hobby.

This advice says that, every twenty minutes approximately, we make a total stop of at least twenty seconds of the screen, and we take advantage of that time to observe an element that is about twenty meters away. The idea behind this cute rule is take advantage of the spaces of maximum concentration of the brain, which are around those 20 minutes, and then let our mind rest momentarily, looking away from the screen.

// image of the 20-20-20

In video games, given its nature continues and a lack of control of the times, it would be more accurate to say that, after each game, we stop for half a minute to get up from the seat and look away from the screen, and that is exactly what we are going to recommend.

Like this one, there are many other applicable “rules”, such as the “15-sit-15-up” which tells us that, for every hour and a half sitting, we must stand at least fifteen minutes to stretch our legs. In the end, they are little more than reminders of what we often know through common sense, but it is worth pointing out their existence to have an excuse to apply them.

Your play space: a safe area for your body

The last point of this text remains for one of the most important aspects of any play space that aspires to be comfortable and safe for our body in the long run: the adequacy of said space to our needs.

It is common to forget the impact that this play area can have on ourselves, but a poorly lit area, for example, can damage our eyesight due to the light contrast even if we follow the previous points, so it is imperative to take into account the conditions of the space before to assess whether it is “safe” for us or not.

In our opinion, the three most important elements in a space (itself) are:

  • Temperature. In a warm climate like that of the peninsula, with areas with very dry squares in most of it, it is important to keep in mind the temperature of our playing space. Most gaming equipment also has the “bad habit” of heating up the environment of the area in which they are, so they should be taken into account.
  • Space. It may seem like a truism, but having plenty of space on our desk can help us create a more visually balanced space and, above all, more comfortable on which to operate. For this, the available space, the idle space and the possibilities for improvement must be taken into account, but aiming for (within a reasonable margin) giving our desk as much space as possible would be of great help to facilitate its daily use.
  • Illumination. Poor lighting, as we anticipated, can cause various eye problems, as well as make it difficult to concentrate in poorly lit spaces. Creating a well-lit space, with more than one non-overlapping point of light, will be a great practice to enhance any desk.

GUUKIN 14W LED Clamp Desk Lamp, Architecture Lamp, Work

GUUKIN 14W LED Clamp Desk Lamp, Architecture Lamp, Work

Contemplating all of them, we can rightly say that our play space is a safe space for our body, which takes care of it and takes into account its long-term limitations.

Of course, nothing of the above will make us better players, it is not even necessary to follow our instructions to play, anyone can place a cardboard box on the floor and put their laptop on it and it would be a perfectly functional play area, or they can play for hours and hours with a posture worthy of a contortionist, But we wanted this text to be a small witness of how, with a few slight changes in behavior, we can improve our space to make it more human, in the most careful sense of the word, and avoid problems in the very long term.