Video games are one of the most common hobbies in the world today. Like other digital activities, they are most often played sitting down, whether in front of a computer or television. However, thanks to the rising popularity of standing desks, it is easier than ever to play video games while standing up. Is it a good idea, however?
Like using a computer, standing up while playing video games has several benefits. It can reduce neck strain, improve circulation, and introduce other health positives. Playing certain games while standing can also improve immersion and help gamers get into the swing of things.
As with almost anything in life, it is best to use moderation. Plenty of research has been done into the benefits and drawbacks of working at a computer while standing, and this is easily transferred to playing video games. Continue reading here for more tips about the benefits and drawbacks of choosing a new way to play.
The Benefits of Standing Up Instead of Sitting Down
The reasons to try standing while gaming are numerous, but some of the best around are the health benefits. For remarkably similar reasons to why experts recommend using a standing desk for work, gaming while on your legs can improve your health in many ways. Most benefits of standing are actually avoiding the downsides of sitting for long periods. While standing itself is a good idea, getting up and movement are the most significant factors in improving health.
According to the Harvard blog linked in the last paragraph, long hours of sitting, like a game session, have been linked with a higher risk of:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Premature death
At the least, introducing some variety in your gaming routine is a great way to improve your chances of good health and help out with poor posture. For instance, Forward Head Posture, also known as FHP, is a typical example of incorrect posture that can lead to unnecessary strain on our backs, neck, and legs. Standing more often while using screens helps to avoid it from developing at all.
The health effects of FHP are profound, with studies finding reports of headaches, weakened respiratory muscles, neck pain, and more. While fixing your posture while sitting will also help with this issue, standing can be an easier solution.
Standing Up While Playing Video Games
Standing up while playing video games is not a new thing. Motion controls, popularized by the Nintendo Wii when released in 2006, have maintained a steady and growing number of users. Incorporating physical movements like swinging a golf club, boxing, and bowling dramatically popularized playing games while not simply standing still.
As expected, all of these movements had to be done standing up. While initially off-putting to many gamers, Wii Sports proved the popularity of standing while gaming by becoming the 4th bestselling game ever. And as far back as 2012, a Kotaku reporter wrote about gaming while standing up and the positive benefits he felt from it. All to say, playing video games while standing up is not a new thing.
Standing up while gaming with sports activities makes sense, of course. But this same logic also applies to other games with more standardized controls. Some players report a more immersive experience while playing games like first-person shooters, for example. Even if only slight, getting a fresh perspective can also help to see the game in a new way or improve performance.
At the least, it is worth giving it a try. While there are numerous health benefits, they are not the only reason to do so; you may simply enjoy it more. Even some competitive gamers engaged in esports choose to game standing. Hungrybox, one of the top professionals at the game Super Smash Brothers: Melee for the Nintendo GameCube, has a long history of standing while he plays.
Setting Up A Television to Play Games While Standing
While standing up while playing is a good thing to try out, setting up to do so may be complicated. Depending on how you currently play video games the most, your setup may need some adjustments to accommodate the new way of engaging. Most people play video games on a television or computer monitor. The size of the television and the type of desk the monitor sits on are the two most important factors to consider when looking to set up for standing gaming.
If you have a large television with room to stand between the television and your regular seat, minimal setup is required. Ensure that you are not getting too close to the TV and can still clearly see the entire screen. If your TV is low to the ground, standing may be uncomfortable. This is likely going to come up unless the television is quite large and mounted on the wall.
If you notice that you need to look down or feel any strain on your neck to see the television while standing, it is too low. Gaming while standing like this may cause many of the health benefits from standing to lose their effectiveness. If possible, raise the television to eye height while standing. This is easiest to do with a swivel arm mount or by raising the television using other objects.
Setting Up A Monitor to Play Games While Standing
The same principles apply to gaming on a computer monitor with a few minor changes. If your gaming monitor is on a standing desk, you can simply raise the desk to your average standing level and experiment with gaming. In this case, you likely already do work while standing and the experience may not be too different.
Otherwise, some changes are necessary. Your desk and monitor were made to be at sitting and eye level respectively, so standing up without adjusting one or the other will result in an uncomfortable mess. Rather than rushing to replace the desk with an expensive standing one, try raising the monitor instead. This can be done in several ways, such as:
- Stacking books or boxes
- Wall mounting the monitor
- Adjusting the monitor stand
- Tilting the monitor up
Some of these methods, such as tilting or adjusting the stand, rely on having a monitor that supports these features. For the most cost-effective solution, try resting the monitor on a surface raised from the desk until it is at eye level while standing.
Choosing A Standing Desk Mat
While trying out standing while playing games requires very little investment, there are a few ways to improve your quality of life while trying. Chief among them is a standing desk mat, recommended everywhere by almost anyone who consistently uses a standing desk. These mats are comfortable places to rest your feet to avoid foot, leg, or back pain from standing for long periods.
While sitting comes with a host of issues that can develop, standing for eight or more hours a day is also not great for the body. A mat to stand on for those long gaming sessions is a great tool to help your body avoid stress and strain.
It is a good idea to mix standing up into video game playing. Sitting for long periods introduces a number of health detriments that standing up can solve or help with, but it is not a catch-all solution. Standing for too long can cause foot, leg, and back pain. Setting up properly with a comfortable standing mat or standing desk can help with this.
To properly set up for gaming while standing, it is vital to move the television or monitor to eye level while standing. If you are straining downwards while playing, you can cause additional issues that even sitting would not.
Hamid Tahir is a Mechatronics Engineer and founder of WFH Overload. He is currently working from home and is dedicated to the continuous improvement of his home office setup. Hamid has extensive experience setting up workspaces and dealing with the related tech. He hopes to share his knowledge to help you create the most productive and comfortable work from home setup. Read More