Here Are 5 Exercises A Doctor Recommends Every Gamer Should Do For Good Health

Touch grass, pretty please.

Story Highlights

  • Our joints and tendons go through excessive repetitive movements which can damage them.
  • Doing wrist rotations, dead hangs, back stretching, finger extensions and cardio can help a lot.
  • Healthy and flexible joints mean that you’ll be able to play games for a longer period of your life.

I’m about to turn 24 this year, and while that’s not a very big number, it constantly reminds me that with every passing day, my body is getting older, weaker, and slower. The thought that constantly haunts me is that, either due to age or a disease, there will come a day when I’ll not be able to play video games anymore.

And that thought is enough to get me out of my trusty gaming chair and do something about it.

While I have been a regular gym bro for 2 years now and it has massively improved nearly every aspect of my life, a full-fledged gym routine might not be suitable for everyone. So from these 2 years that I’ve been working out and the 5 years I’ve spent in medical school, I’ve come to the conclusion that these are the 5 exercises every gamer should do on a daily basis to avoid muscle and joint pains that can hold them back from gaming at their best.

  • About the Author: Ahmad Rafiq is a medical student in the final year of his degree from UCMD. The only thing that got him through these 5 grueling years is video games. 

Wrist Circumductions

It might not seem like it but your wrists are arguably the most important part of your body as a gamer. It’s the one joint through which all the tendons connecting your fingers and your thumb to their muscles pass, as well as the nerves that innervate your hand. 

If you’ve been gaming for a long time, play for hours on end, especially with a claw grip on your mouse, don’t partake in a lot of physical activity, and have a genetic predisposition, you’re at a higher risk of developing a disease called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In this condition, the tendons that pass through your wrist can get inflamed and can compress the nerves passing through it.

This can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling sensation in your hand, and eventually weaken your grip strength so much that you won’t be able to use a controller or grab a mouse.

To avoid suffering from this debilitating condition, perform wrist circumductions by rotating your wrists in circles. Do 3 sets of 30 rotations in both directions on each hand at least once every day. This will stretch your wrist tendons and nerves, making them more elastic and less prone to inflammation and impingement. With that checked off, you can keep sniping no-scope 360 headshots in Counter-Strike 2.

YouTube video

Back Stretching

The one thing most gamers, including myself, tend to ignore is their back. Our back is made up of three sections:

  1. The cervical section includes your neck until the shoulders.
  2. The thoracic section starts from the shoulders and ends where your ribcage ends.
  3. The lumbar section, which is also called your lower back, is right below the thoracic section.

Owing to bad posture and multiple consecutive hours of gaming, the section of our back that takes the most damage is the lumbar region. Pain arising in the lower back can be chronic (last for a long time), prevent you from sitting properly, and even cause issues in your legs. Even though I have a pretty comfortable gaming chair, when I’m playing Ghost of Tsushima and exploring its beautiful world, my lower back starts to pain and I have to walk around.

The best thing you can do to prevent this from happening is do something called the “Child Pose Stretch.” This stretches your lower back muscles and extends your spine, increasing flexibility and reducing the chances of developing lower back pain. Ideally, stretch for 30 seconds for three sets daily.

It goes without saying that a good seating posture and a good gaming chair with lumbar support go a long way in preventing back pain.

YouTube video

Finger Extensions

We gamers rely on our fingers and thumbs to press the mouse and controller buttons. Every in-game action, whether it’s clicking on a mouse to pull a gun trigger or pressing X to call Shaun, requires a smooth contraction of our fingers to press a button. That’s fine unless you start to overdo it by playing for more than 6-8 hours a day daily, without a break or any stretching, and a condition called trigger finger develops.

On the palm side of your hand, there are tendons that travel from your forearm all the way up to the tip of your finger. Repetitive movement done for hours on end, like pressing or clicking buttons, can inflame these tendons, making them get stuck on the pulley system holding these tendons in place. If this happens, your fingers will get stuck during the pressing motion.

To avoid this condition, the best exercise you can do is finger extensions. Hold the fingers with your other hand, pull them as far back as you can, and hold them there for 3 seconds. Do 3 sets of 10 extensions for each hand at least once daily.

Game giving me trigger finger
byu/cortezzzthekiller iniRacing

Dead Hangs

Dead hangs are one of, if not the best exercise you can do as a gamer.

Even though most of the deftness in our movements comes from the wrist, it’s our shoulder that does the heavy lifting, especially for PC gamers who use palm grip in FPS shooters and Call of Duty Warzone players on console who practice their controller throws every time they lose a match. The shoulder joint is more sensitive than you think and a lot of nerves, blood vessels, and muscle tendons pass through this area.

A common condition experienced by gamers called the Mouse Shoulder, is actually an inflammation of the upper biceps tendon that crosses the shoulder. Gamers who don’t use proper arm support when gaming are at risk of experiencing this condition.

The best exercise to prevent nearly every shoulder problem and to keep your shoulder joint healthy is dead hangs. Simply find something you can grab onto and hang for 30 seconds for 3 sets. Make sure that you keep your shoulders loose, and your palms to the front, and really feel that stretch in your spine. I personally have set up a pullup bar in my house specifically for dead hangs and pullups. The best practice for a gamer is to clock in a few good matches and then go do some dead hangs.

YouTube video


I hate cardio as much as the next person, but its benefits cannot be ignored. We gamers tend to stay sedentary for multiple hours, and if you’ve been gaming for a long time, you need to include some aerobic exercise that challenges your heart and lungs.

If you’re packing on weight and are obese, you’re instantly at a higher risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Cardio is the best way to lose weight, improve your overall health, and even enhance your performance in video games.

Try to spend at least 150 minutes every week doing light cardio, and no, making your character sprint in a video game doesn’t count.

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Ahmad's idea of a successful life involves three things: unlimited time to play video games, a chiseled body with abs that can grate cheese, and all-you-can-eat buffets at all times (ironic, I know). This final-year medical student is a religious enjoyer of all categories of video games and has developed full-fledged opinions on games you've probably never even heard of. As an opinion writer at eXputer, he combines all of his gaming, gym, and medical knowledge to deliver content you won't find anywhere on the World Wide Web.

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