Video games are one of the biggest enablers of a sedentary lifestyle; especially if you regularly indulge in marathon gaming sessions while slumped on a couch. If you’re concerned about your overall health but don’t want to hang up your joypad, the simplest solution is to play standing. In addition to improving your posture, this can provide a swathe of side-benefits, including tempered play sessions, improved sleeping habits and sexily muscled calves.
Like many gamers, I spent the better part of the Christmas holidays obsessively playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. This left very little room for exercise and other healthy pursuits.
To help mitigate the damage, I forced myself to play the game while standing up. This proved to be less hassle than I was expecting: as creature comforts go, a couch isn’t particularly essential. So long as you’re engrossed in the game at hand, you barely even notice you’re standing.
There are also some additional perks not related to posture. After a few hours, standing begins to take its toll, which discourages unhealthy, all-night gaming sessions. I also found myself sleeping more soundly: as we noted in our Ergonomics Now desk review, standing for prolonged periods of the day expends more energy and leaves you feeling less wired at bedtime. A few days of upright gaming left me sleeping like a baby.
Plus, you can work in some simple exercises while playing if you’re that way inclined. During my never-ending quest to slay Darkspawn, I periodically lifted myself on my toes to strengthen my calf muscles. If you wanted to go nuts you could even do standing leg lifts and squats.
The key is to persevere until standing-while-gaming becomes a compulsive habit. It only took me around a week to get used to it and I haven’t looked back since.
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