There’s more to being an eAthlete than playing a lot of video games. Playing competitively means spending extended amounts of time in-game honing reflexes, building up muscle memory, and internalizing information about the game through practice. Regardless of level, athletes in training spend days and nights hunched over their computers playing their game of choice.
And just like any other sport, practicing eSports can lead to long-term physical damage, without proper technique. In addition to the implications of sitting in a chair all day, the sharp, repetitive motions you perform can hurt your wrists, and extended slouching sessions can hurt your back.
There are ways to minimize the damage your gaming habit — or any computer-related activity – does to your body. Performance coach Frank Maas provides an overview on how to do so in “eSports Ergonomics,” a video published this week that instructs players on computer-related ergonomics, including correct posture, breathing, and stretches.
“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” Maas said. “If you breathe very badly when you’re playing a game, you tense up, or you have unrealistic expectations of yourself — these will all contribute to you feeling pain, of feeling discomforting while playing a game.”
Maas’ serves as the “ergonomics expert” for a Starcraft II coaching group, The Sandbox. Though the tips are geared towards a specific game, his instructions generally apply to any eAthlete and, frankly, anyone who spends most of their work day on a computer.
According to Maas, not only are the exercises good for player health, but they will improve user speed and endurance, which are crucial for eAthletes.
As Maas points out, these instructions are preventative measures, meant to minimize injury down the road. Players experiencing pain related to computer use should consult an ergonomics expert and a doctor.
If you want a more detailed set of instructions, the Sandbox also has a written guide with the information from the video, which you can find here.