By almost every stat, I’m a decidedly average gamer. I may be good at building gaming PCs, but throw me into a modern competitive game and I’ll settle in the middle of the pack, with a really unremarkable kill-to-death ratio. However, one thing that I do very differently from everyone else is that I play my games standing up.
And I think you should too.
Don’t let this 5’5″ journo look down on you from a standing desk and foam covered rocker. Join me. Playing standing PC games is great.
Saving Spines and Bounce Babies
As a full-time writer and dedicated geek, I could easily spend 99% of my work and free time sitting. Whether I’m typing, watching, playing, reading, painting, or role-playing on the table, sitting is the default position for everything, so it’s not surprising that I encountered my first grown-up mini-boss in my early twenties, when I ran headlong into chronic back pain. issues.
Switching to a standing desk helped with that – immensely – as a number of studies have shown it should. What started as a pile of boxes piled haphazardly on a round table that I stole from a long-shuttered cafe ended up being the much more indulgent Uplift V2. Whether I used a jerry-rigged standing solution, or the nuanced and quiet, motor-driven reclining desk I have today, the benefits I enjoyed from changing my playtime to standing instead of sitting were dramatic.
My posture has improved, I’ve stayed fitter and healthier, and I’ve avoided some of the more distasteful health problems that have plagued my equally old and more sedentary colleagues. It even helped my sanity shortly after my daughter’s birth by letting my sleep-deprived mind wander into the vast wilderness of Valheim while I let her sleep in a sling.
It meant I could also spend time with my wife. In early 2021 we couldn’t leave our house outside of a short dog walk due to pandemic lockdown measures, and with a sleeping newborn we passed ships in the wind. But with a standing desk where I could game while making sure my daughter couldn’t sleep — at least one of us got what we needed — my wife and I could build the longhouse of our dreams and plan our next attack on Bonemass.
She talked, I typed, and most importantly, our daughter slept while we spent some quality time together; albeit virtually from a few rooms away. It was heavenly and only possible because I was standing while gaming.
Ergonomics of the playroom
Aside from the health and marriage benefits, playing your games standing up can also improve the physical layout of your playroom. While you probably would — and probably should — benefit from an adjustable desk for both sitting and standing play, at least to start with, having your desk near chest height gives you plenty of room underneath for other things.
Do you usually have your PC on your desk? Stick it underneath and enjoy reduced noise levels by putting a few feet and a hunk of wood between you and the humming fans – just make sure the cables are long enough to reach when the desk is at both sitting and standing height.
If you can leave your desk as a more permanent solution, you can even stick completely different furniture under it. Smaller desks and chests of drawers make great stands for bulky printers and scanners, or if you don’t have small hands reaching for them, it’s not a bad place to stash your VR headset and kit either.
It’s dangerous to go alone
The problem with switching from long sitting to long standing is that it is tiring. It takes a few weeks or even months to adjust to the extra strain it places on your body, and I went through several painful stages as my feet, calves, and lower back got used to the new work they had to do while they I played. I’ve used both rubber mats and a foam-padded rocker to relieve pressure on my feet, and I’ll occasionally slip on a pair of the very old-fashioned Vibram FiveFingers shoes when I need a little extra help getting around plantar fasciitis. .
I was also forced by my own eccentricities to do a serious cable cleanup routine. One of the drawbacks of a standing desk is that any spaghetti of wiring you hide underneath will become apparent to everyone as soon as you lift the blackout desk. I’ve used cable clearers, cable guides, and even a bit of duct tape to keep my wiring out of sight and out of mind.
I had a frantic adjustment when my webcam cable turned out to be too short and nearly ripped my desktop I/O apart, but it all worked out in the end.
Seriously, double check your cable lengths all heights.
Stand-up gaming doesn’t have to be forever
You don’t have to be a standing gamer to take advantage of standing while gaming. If you’ve ever felt good doing a stretch in the middle of a multi-hour gaming session, you can already imagine the benefit of switching from sitting to standing just for an hour or so. It will get you moving in ways you just can’t while sitting, and that won’t end with the benefits to your overall physical and mental well-being.
It certainly helped mine. My daughter no longer has to rock to sleep like she once did, but my stand-up gaming routine has held up. I appreciate it’s a niche obsession; It’s about as popular as my beloved toe shoes. But if even some of you try to challenge myself as that eccentric rocking back and forth as he Mount & Blade armies will have been well worth it.