You love your PC. It’s a place you can work at, but more importantly, it’s a place you can game at. The thing is, if you’re using a traditional desk-and-chair setup, the more you game on the PC, the bigger the problem you’re creating for yourself.
I don’t want to sound like your mother here, but sitting – or, as many of you probably do, slouching – in a chair at a desk for a massive session of DOTA 2, or Skyrim, or whatever, isn’t exactly the healthiest thing for you. Especially if you’re doing it for hours at a time.
That’s why workplaces give you breaks. It’s why airlines recommend you move around every few hours. Indeed, in terms of everything from blood circulation to food digestion to calorie-burning, sitting down for extended periods of time is one of the worst things you can be doing to your body short of putting poison in it or having something hit you very hard.
But it’s OK. I’m here to help. You don’t need to stop your ten-hour gaming sessions to save your body. You just need to change the way you’re sitting. Or, well, stop sitting altogether.
Sure, you could just get a really good chair and remember to take breaks, but good chairs are expensive, and taking breaks is for cowards (or, more seriously, something even those with the best intentions can easily forget if they’re immersed in a game). So last year, I went a little further and jumped on the standing office bandwagon, partly because I was about to lose my office to a newborn child, but mostly because I was finding it detrimental to my health. Because I work 9-10 hour days, then spend most of my gaming time at the same PC afterwards, I’d get a sore back, a sore neck and pain in my hips. I wasn’t overweight, per se, but let’s say that despite being fairly active outside of work hours, I wasn’t exactly fighting fit.
Worst of all, sitting down all day just made me feel horrible. Like I was ending my day in a thick fog, having been in the same position, in the same room, for most of my waking hours.
Having looked at various internet guides, I found most to be either too crummy for my needs (more suited to the occasional user) or prohibitively expensive.
Ignore those guides. If you feel like getting a little more active and trying this out, you can go to IKEA and get a kickass desk for under $300 Australian, meaning most of you, regardless of where you live, can easily do the same. Below you’ll find the various components for the desk I put together a few months back which you can see above. It’s a Frankenstein’s Monster approach, I know, but it still looks pretty good!
Vika Kaj adjustable legs ($25 each)
The only way you can get a standing desk this cheap is to improvise, and the only way to do that at IKEA is to get these legs, which extend enough to accommodate all but the tallest of you.
Linnmon Table ($49)
Because you’re just putting a piece of wood on some legs, you can opt for any tabletop, really, but I liked the Linnmon, because, despite the gloosy white finish, it was super cheap.
Ekby Alex ($99)
Pricey for what it is, since it’s really just a little box with some shelves inside, but you need somewhere to put a monitor and speakers, so you may as well put them somewhere you can also store miscellaneous crap inside as well.
This standing setup doesn’t have the luxury of letting you dump 17 cables and power adapters in the corner, so you need something tidier. This does the trick. Just bolt it underneath the tabletop.
Basically a cradle for your PC, it lets you sling your computer under the table and keep it off the ground. Not a necessity, but it sure makes cleaning the area — and accessing your PC — a lot easier than most traditional setups.
One more thing you can’t get from IKEA, but which you’ll definitely need, is a mat. They’ll be called different things depending on where you live, but you know those thick rubber mats security guards stand on? Yeah, you’ll want one of those.
An important thing to note is that this isn’t for everyone. Maybe you’ve got a bad ankle. Maybe you’ve got nowhere else to put that fancy office chair but under a desk. That’s OK! Nobody is forcing you to do this. I’m just saying it’s something you could totally just try.
Another thing is that if you do try this out, as my colleague Kirk Hamilton’s butt will attest, there is a little adjustment period. Usually around two weeks, while your legs and back get used to all the standing. Once that’s done, though, as insane as this sounds, your body really won’t mind. You should be able to stand for hours at a time and be totally fine, because you will have guns, only not on your arms. On your legs.
And your body will thank you for it.
Howtu is Kotaku’s guide on how to get the most out of your gaming.