Health in esports: how to protect yourself from sedentary injury

 Exercises for the eyes, as well as warm-ups for the arms, neck, and back



Esports seems like a completely atraumatic sport - there is no danger of fractures, sprains, dislocations, or concussions. However, remember how many times you got up in front of your computer after a long day at work, rubbing your aching wrists or flexing your stiff neck. These unpleasant sensations for any esports player are a daily reality, which in the future can lead to serious and difficult-to-heal injuries. To avoid the consequences, you need not only monitor your posture but also warm up regularly.

A Pilates practice can be helpful i...
A Pilates practice can be helpful in your active recovery


An important point: the text describes general recommendations, the main purpose of which is to give the eyes, muscles, and spine a rest. Specific treatments may vary depending on the characteristics of your body. In addition, serious problems and methods of their treatment should be discussed with a doctor and not diagnosed on the Internet!


We organize the workspace

Pain in the neck, arms, lower back, vision problems - all these is work-related injuries of cyber sportsmen who spend up to 18 hours at the computer. And in order to avoid these injuries, first of all, you need to observe safety precautions, that is, to properly organize your workplace and monitor the implementation of a number of simple rules.

We organize the workspace

  1. Use a high-backed chair, with a lumbar and neck pillow if necessary.
  2. Adjust the chair so that your feet are on the floor and there is a gap of about five centimeters between your calves and the seat of the chair. Now adjust the back to support your lower back and maintain a 90-100 degree angle between your hip and torso. If the height of the table is not adjustable and it is high, then you can use special support for the legs - a small platform that is placed next to the chair.
  3. Then adjust the height of the armrests. The main landmark is the forearms. The elbow should rest on the armrest so that a comfortable and nearly straight line is maintained between the elbow and the wrist. If the armrest is too high, it will cause problems with the shoulders, too low an armrest, which causes the elbow to fall through, will cause sprains and pain in the wrist. Experts also recommend focusing on the level of the navel - approximately at this level, the person's elbows are in a relaxed state.
  4. Pay attention to the location of the wrists - they should never be on the edge of the table - this way the edge of the tabletop will constrict the blood flow. To maintain the required distance and save the wrists, a special pillow supply will help.
  5. The next step is to adjust the height of the monitor. If you already have neck problems, then the middle of the monitor should be at eye level. If the neck is healthy, the top edge of the monitor should be at eye level. It is advisable to place the monitor itself no closer than 50 centimeters from the face (this rule is especially not to the liking of CS: GO players, who can practically touch the screen with their nose during a match).
We organize the workspace

6. Watch the lighting in the room. First, try not to use too high a brightness on your monitor. Second, turn on other light sources in the evening or in a dark room. Large contrast between background and screen brightness will cause eye strain. This problem can be alleviated by a small light directed into the wall behind the monitor and slightly illuminating the space.
7. Make sure to take 15 minute breaks every 2 hours to rest your back, eyes, and arms. During this time, you can have time to drink water, breathe fresh air or do several warm-ups for tired muscles.


What to do if your hands hurt?

“Carpal tunnel syndrome is a neurological disorder in which the median nerve is compressed in the carpal tunnel. A risk factor is often repetitive, stereotypical brush movements. The fact is that the carpal tunnel is very narrow and the vessels, nerves, and tendons of the fingers of the hand pass through it at the same time. With constant stress and the slightest edema, there is no room at all in the already narrow canal and compression of one of the nerves occurs, which leads to a burning sensation, tingling sensation, and numbness, ”explains sports doctor Artem Ryzhenko.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common medical reasons why esports athletes take a break or even end their careers. In 2014, Clinton Fear Loomis was forced to miss the Dota 2 World Championship due to pain in the wrist and elbow (another vulnerability for this disease). Some esports players continue to play through the pain and wear special bandages to help their joints. If you begin to feel discomfort in the elbows or wrists, doctors recommend that you distract yourself from killing enemies and do gymnastics every two to three hours.

  1. Bring your palms together so that your fingers are pointing up and your elbows away from you, as during prayer. Hold this position for 30 seconds. To increase the load, you can slowly lower your palms down, maintaining pressure between them.
  2. Change the position of the palms: bring the backs of the hands together, and point your fingers down. Hold for 30 seconds, and for additional load, slowly raise your joined hands up.
  3. Stretch one arm forward, straighten your elbow and keep your palm up. With the fingers of your other hand, gently press down on the fingers so that the wrist arches and the palm becomes almost parallel to the body. Hold this position for 10-30 seconds and repeat on the other hand. If pain occurs, you need to reduce the pressure on the fingers.
  4. This time, point your fingers up, not down. Feel the stretch in the forearm and hold the position for 10-30 seconds.
  5. With your palm in front of you and your hand relaxed, gently stretch your fingers one by one. You may hear a small click, but pain may be a reason to stop doing this exercise.
  6. Stretch both arms forward and gently rotate your wrists. It is enough to make 10-15 rotations clockwise and counterclockwise.
  7. Place your hand palm up and bend your thumb towards your little finger, gently pressing it against your palm. Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and repeat the exercise up to 10 times for each hand.
  8. Raise your hands up, clench your hands into a fist, unclench and shake.
  9. Place your hands on the table and lift each finger in turn, being careful not to lift the rest from the table. Repeat in a circle 5-10 times.
  10. At the end of the warm-up, massage each finger from the pad to the base and shake your hands to completely release the tension.

What to do if the neck or back hurts?

In October 2018, the famous CS: GO player Daniil Zeus Teslenko appeared in public wearing an orthopedic collar. Later, the player said that due to improper fit at the computer, his cervical vertebrae were displaced. Blogger Ilya Maddyson suffered from the same problem - at first he tried to numb the pain with ointments and pills, but then moved on to more radical measures.

Of course, these are critical cases and not everyone has such serious consequences. However, a sedentary lifestyle combined with the strangest seating positions (some players manage to sit on a chair almost squatting or turning the body 90 degrees) slowly damages the spine. Firstly, due to the unnatural position, pathological bends are formed, and secondly, the muscles weaken and cease to maintain the correct shape of the spine. But the most important problem is the destruction of the intervertebral discs. The main way to prevent these diseases will be a change in lifestyle, but if the training schedule does not allow completely getting out of the computer, then it is worth taking a couple of minutes to stretch and stretch the muscles of different parts of the spine. Just don't forget to take off your headphones!

Neck complex

  1. Sit up straight with your back straightened and your feet flat on the floor. Keep your neck straight, look at the ceiling with the back of your head, and keep your chin slightly down (do not press it against your chest). In this position, slightly stretch the back of your head up and feel the stretch in the neck muscles.
  2. Slowly turn your head to the left, linger a little in this position and return to the starting position just as slowly. Repeat the turn in the other direction - and so on several times
  3. Slowly tilt your left ear towards your left shoulder, keeping a level position, without bending forward or backward. The shoulder is constantly lowered and does not rise towards the ear. Feel a pleasant stretch and return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise on the other side. No fanaticism is needed, light stretching is enough!
  4. Tilt your head deeply forward, as if trying to reach your chin to your chest, until you feel a pleasant stretch. Tilt your head again, but now press lightly on your head with your palms locked together.
  5. Pull your chin down diagonally to the right, while reaching out with your left hand toward the floor. Repeat on the other side.
  6. Slowly pull your chin forward (like a turtle from a shell) and return it to its original position. Repeat several times.
  7. Raise your right hand and place your palm over the top on the left side of your head. Press lightly on your head, trying to tilt it towards your shoulder. While contracting your neck muscles, resist the pressure from your palm. Repeat the exercise on the other side.

          Back complex

          1. Sit up straight with your arms extended along your torso. Bring your shoulder blades together without lifting your shoulders. Hold this position and then stretch your shoulders forward. At a slow pace, repeat the exercise several times.
          2. Place your hands behind your head and rotate your torso to the right and then to the left. At the same time, the legs should remain motionless, the knees should be parallel to each other. Repeat several times.
          3. Bring your shoulder blades together, put your hands in the lock behind your back and take them back. If you don't have good posture or shoulder flexibility, you can pick up a pencil or towel. Hold the position for a few seconds and feel the muscles stretch.
          4. Put your hands together in a lock, but this time in front of you. Stretch your arms as far forward as possible, while lowering your head and pulling your stomach in. In this position, you should not feel neck pain.
          5. Sit on the edge of a chair or chair with your feet together. Then bend forward with your chest on your knees (you can wrap your hands around them if necessary). Don't round your back, keep it straight.

          What to do if your eyes get tired?

          It is not uncommon for a professional esports player who wears glasses, uses lenses, or has already had a vision correction operation. Surely their mother in childhood also told them that the computer would hurt their eyes and need to take breaks, but they did not obey. It is especially hard for the eyes when long gaming sessions turn into night gatherings in a dark room. And they usually end with blurry vision, a sensation of sand in the eyes and the difficulty of focusing on distant objects. So while there is a search for a game or rivals are already demolishing your throne, while you are sitting in the tavern, you can devote this time to a short warm-up for the eyes.

          1. Blink quickly for a minute. Then close your eyes for 30 seconds and rest.
          2. Blink for three seconds, then open your eyes and look at the object in front of you. It is advisable to turn away from the screen during exercise and look at the wall, closet, or bookshelf at eye level.
          3. Close your eyes and press lightly on your eyelids. Hold the pressure for about 3 seconds and repeat several times.
          4. Now close your eyes and press down on your eyebrows (a little more this time).
          5. Close your eyes, relax and draw three shapes with your eyes: a circle, a square, and a triangle. It is not necessary to make large figures, a medium amplitude is enough. Repeat the complex 3-5 times at a slow pace.
          6. Choose two objects in the room - one close to you (for example, a mug of water or a mouse) and one as far away as possible (a picture on the far wall of the room, or even a detail of a landscape outside the window). Change focus from one subject to another. Repeat the exercise 10-15 times, keeping your attention on each object for 3-5 seconds.
          7. Close your eyes with your palms so as to create the feeling of complete darkness, without putting pressure on the eyeball. Open your eyes and sit there for a few minutes, blinking at your natural pace. At this time, you can imagine how you win the next game.

          It should be remembered that no amount of warm-ups can substitute for avid gamers and e-sportsmen for physical activity and walks in the fresh air. Moreover, physiologists have long proved that regular exercise improves brain function and has a positive effect on the reaction rate. This means they will bring you more victories.

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