Although the body is not designed to sit for long hours, we spend the majority of our lives sitting down. In America, the average worker sits for 13 hours a day. This time includes working, commuting, eating, and relaxing on the couch at home.
In recent years there has been growing evidence of health risks caused by too much sitting. These include obesity, diabetes, depression and cardiovascular disease.
Gaming chairs address these problems by protecting the body during long periods of sitting. Three things happen once you start using a gaming chair:
- Improved posture: a contoured backrest bolstered by support cushions keeps the spine in perfect alignment
- Better circulation: gaming chairs ensure the feet lie flat on the floor for optimal blood flow
- Reduced chronic pain: by keeping the spine in alignment, overworked muscles can relax against the chair's support
This article explain how a gaming chair (when used correctly, in tandem with plenty of breaks and an active lifestyle) will provide serious benefits in both quality of life and also work performance.
Poor sitting habits cause health problems
Cheap office chairs place massive stress on the back muscles, neck, and spine. In addition, excessive sitting raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. A gaming chair benefits users by drastically improving posture – but the chair is only part of the solution.
Caveat: only if you use a gaming chair correctly, take plenty of breaks, maintain an active lifestyle and eat well will a gaming chair will give you a serious performance edge.
Conversely, if you suffer from obesity, lethargy, poor posture or chronic pain, a gaming chair can be used as a tool to kick-start a healthier and more disciplined lifestyle.
Health benefits of gaming chairs
All gaming chairs feature high backs, neck support pillows and lumbar (lower back) support. When positioned correctly, gaming chairs force the user to sit with optimal posture. Over extended sitting hours, the body thus gets 'trained' to sit in correct posture, until the habit sticks.
Poor posture works the same across both genders. For both men and women, a healthy spine is aligned in an 'S' shape, with an indent at the small of the back (aka the lumbar area). People with poor posture lose the S-shaped indent. In addition the shoulders sag, the neck tilts forward and the pelvis thrusts the belly outwards. This entire misalignment puts tremendous strain on the body, usually in the form of severe neck, back or shoulder pain.
According to Healthline.com, these are some of the benefits that both men and women can expect from having good posture:
- Reduced lower back pain
- Less headaches
- Increased energy levels
- Reduced tension in neck and shoulders
- Increased lung capacity
- Improved circulation
- Improved core strength
Superior back support
Quality gaming chairs come with a number of features designed to support the spine:
- High backs that are contoured to support the spine
- Extra soft memory foam cushioning
- Lumbar and neck support pillows
- Bucket seats for a streamlined fit
The crude alignment of cheap office chairs prevents blood flow. If you’ve ever felt pins and needles after a marathon sitting session, this is caused by clogged blood flow – when you stand, blood rushes to your feet, causing the pins and needles sensation.
With a gaming chair, you should adjust the height so that your feet are planted firmly on the ground (tucking the feet under the body impairs blood flow). Place the arms in the armrests when idle to spread your weight distribution. Keep the lumbar pillow pushed into the curve of your lower back. Doing all of these things will ensure optimal blood flow while sitting, although you should still take a walking break every twenty minutes or so.
Boosted energy levels
According to the ‘Posture Doc’ Dr. Guy Bahar, sitting with improper posture places severe strain on the back, neck, shoulders and arms. For example, when hunched over a desk, the head leans too far forward, forcing muscles in the neck and back to work four times harder to compensate for the imbalance, This depletes oxygen levels, builds up lactic acid and causes fatigue. Over time these stresses materialize as physical pain, stiffness or muscle tension.
Conversely, when sat in a gaming chair, weight is distributed across the spinal column, requiring less muscle support. In addition, sitting upright with an aligned spine allows for deeper breathing and 30% more oxygen supplied to the body.
Adjusting to proper posture
Be prepared for an adjustment period, especially if you’ve been sitting with poor posture for years.
At first, a gaming chair might feel incredibly uncomfortable. However, since you’ve gone through the trouble to buy a gaming chair, have it delivered and set up, you might as well persevere. Within a week your body should adjust comfortably. After that, your posture will immediately show improvement, and a host of other health benefits will kick in:
Case study: DXracer gaming chair benefits
After several years working 10-12 hours per day at a desk, I was suffering from tightness in my hamstrings and back that pulled my body inwards into an ugly slouch. For health reasons, the cost of a high quality gaming chair seemed reasonable, so I purchased a DX Racer Formula Series chair. After a week of struggling to get used to sitting upright, magic started to happen:
Long term benefits
The most immediate physical changes were a looser back and what felt like more blood flow through my legs. I added stretching and basic yoga to my gym routine, and enjoyed steady flexibility growth.
Two years later, both my work performance and physical fitness has peaked, while both my standing and sitting posture are on-point.
Verdict: well worth the price, great health benefits, long hours at the computer is a pleasure – always comfortable.