Long hours in front of a computer or console put pressure on your body. You might not feel it right away, but that tension can build into actual pain. So it’s a good idea to give yourself a break once in a while and loosen those muscles.
Below are 14 great stretches for gamers to try when your hands, arms, back, and neck feel stiff. Exercises like these also help build your flexibility and reaction times, benefitting both your health and gameplay.
Hand Stretches for Gamers
1. Thumb Extensor Stretch
For best results, fold your thumb into your palm and wrap your fingers over it, making a fist. Then bend your hand towards the pinky’s side. You want to feel a painless stretch of the muscle beneath the thumb. Hold that position for 30 seconds and repeat a few times before doing the exercise with the other hand too.
2. Thumb Adductor Stretch
Extend your arm forward with your palm pointed ahead and fingers upward, like a stop gesture. Gently pull your thumb down and back with your other hand. This stretch for gamers eases tension in the thumb’s front muscle. It also helps your grip and flexibility.
3. Prayer and Reverse Prayer Position Stretch
Place your hands palms together, as if praying. Your fingers should be pointing up and elbows outward. The only motion you make is to gently push your connected hands downwards. You want to straighten the line from elbow to elbow and stretch the front of your wrists.
The reverse position has the backs of your hands touching instead of your palms and the fingers pointing to the floor. This time, the push is upward so as to stretch the backs of the wrists. The most you should feel is slight discomfort, no pain. This applies to all these exercises.
4. Supine Flexors and Pronated Extensors Stretch
The positioning in these two stretches is exactly the same, but the muscles they stretch are different. The position is simple: arm straight in front of you and palm facing up. The other hand comes and lightly pulls your palm backwards toward the floor.
For the first stretch, pull from the fingers to extend your palm muscles as well as those of your forearm. For the second, the pressure should be further up on the palm itself. This focuses the stretch on the wrist and the arm muscles beyond it.
Arm Stretches for Gamers
1. Cross Body Stretch
There are so many ways to keep your arms strong and healthy, including free online fitness programs to improve your whole body. But a gamer often just needs simple stretches to beat specific pains.
This exercise, for example, folds your extended arm across your chest with some extra pressure from your other hand. It gives your shoulder muscles a gentle pull.
2. Chest to Arm Stretch
You can do this exercise at different intensities. One method is to extend your arm to the side with the elbow bent 90 degrees and fingers pointing at the ceiling.
Rest that forearm against a flat surface with your chest parallel and gently push that forward. The stretch should go from the front of your shoulder into the arm.
For more intensity, extend your arm backward, ideally against a wall beside you. Make sure you square your shoulders and that they’re facing forward.
This position alone should give a similar chest to arm stretch, but you can also turn your head in the opposite direction to your arm. The gentle and relaxing pull should now run from your neck to your arm.
3. External Bicep Stretch
Set your bent elbow on the desk with fingers up and shoulders down. With your other hand, push your forearm backward, slightly rotating the arm.
Only apply pressure until you feel a pull in your biceps that also touches the shoulder and elbow. This is a small but effective stretch.
4. Tricep Stretch
Here’s another great way to release arm and shoulder tension. For best results, place both bent elbows on the edge of the desk before you. Then slowly lower your head and torso into the space between desk and chair.
Make sure your upper body is straight and your arms well planted on the table. Your shoulders and part of your back get a good stretch, too.
Back Stretches for Gamers
1. Backward Arm Stretch
Long, hunched gaming sessions are especially bad for your back. To quickly release such knots, you can easily find simple stretches in places like yoga apps and courses.
A common exercise involves extending your arms behind your back and interlocking your fingers, palms facing in. Try raising your arms as high as possible and holding them there. The position and motion engage several stiff muscles.
2. Internal Arm Rotation Behind the Back Stretch
Here’s a tricky stretch you’ve probably seen before.
What you need to do is fold one arm over the same shoulder until your palm faces and touches your back. The other arm folds under its shoulder so its palm faces outward while resting against your back. Now, try interlocking those hands.
Even if you don’t succeed, the attempt alone pulls all the right muscles in your back and shoulders. Repeat the exercise on both sides.
For some extra help, you could get a strap of some kind to hold onto while stretching. Keep practicing and you’ll be able to connect your hands in no time.
3. Spine Rotation Stretch
Be extra careful with these kinds of exercises. Too much force can hurt your back more than help it.
In this case, cross your right leg, for example, over the left and slowly turn your torso to the right. You can push against your leg or desk for more rotation but stop as soon as you feel the desired pull down your back. Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Neck Stretches for Gamers
1. Front to Back Stretch
A painful neck can ruin a game and your overall well-being just as easily. For a good first stretch, tuck in your chin to align your spine and then slowly bend your head forward and then all the way back. Do this a couple of times to loosen those neck muscles.
2. Lateral Stretch
Follow the same principle as above. Tuck in your chin and bend your head from side to side, as if trying to touch your ears to your shoulders.
For more intensity, depending on the direction your head will lean in, place the opposite hand either behind your back or under your hip. You can also use the other hand to gently pull your head closer to each shoulder.
3. Rotation Stretch
Finally, move your head in circular motions, and in all directions it can go. Don’t push yourself too hard or fast. In fact, the slower and more focused you make each movement, the better your muscles will stretch.
The aim is a fluid, relaxed routine to counteract the tension of gaming.
Stretch for Better and Healthier Gaming
Revive your body’s flexibility and energy with these easy exercises. They’re focused on key areas that tend to give gamers the most trouble when playing too long, but there are many more stretches and fitness solutions to discover.
Choose the best and combine them into a healthy and relaxing routine for the benefit of your hands, neck, back, and beyond. Your body and overall gaming performance will thank you for it.
Most video games don’t require much physical exertion, so your favorite hobby probably doesn’t provide you much exercise. But what if you could combine gaming and exercise to help you get fit?
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