Gamers with bad backs are a dime a dozen, and it's easy to see why; immersive, epic gaming marathons means a ton of sitting. How many times have you finished a dungeon raid, a brutally long boss battle or fended off an all-out assault on your base, then sat back with a groan, painfully wondering how long you were leaning over your keyboard or controller like the Hunchback of Notre Dame? I try to be very aware of my posture when I game or sit at the computer, but I often catch myself in a terribly uncomfortable position anyways. It's almost impossible not to; when things get tense on-screen, so does your body.
Looking for some relief, I reached out to the Plexus people, maker of the Plexus Wheel. These are simple tools to improve your posture, stretch your spine and target specific, tight muscles. I'll admit that when my Plexus Wheels arrived, I thought, "Huh. Circles." I mean, very solidly constructed circles (they are rated to support up to 280 pounds), but circles nonetheless. I soon found that they are much more than that. There are three sizes of Plexus Wheels for three different purposes:
- The Standard 12-inch wheel offers gentle pressure and relaxes the upper and lower back (best for people five foot tall and above)
- The Medium 10-inch wheel offers medium pressure and can be used to relax the hips by opening them up (best for people five foot tall and under)
- The Micro six-inch wheel offers deep tissue pressure, corrects posture, and targets specific muscle groups – (good for all heights)
I got a lot of use out of the Standard wheel as well, mainly because I would set a timer for thirty minutes to an hour, then force myself to get up and stretch out over the wheel, relaxing my back and just breathing. Geez. You don't really notice how much tension you are holding until you roll on this thing a few times and let your back go slack. Doing this was initially uncomfortable, but after my third or fourth "wheel break", I was looking forward to it.
Now, there are a lot of pictures out there like the one below, postures and poses are passed off as viable things you can do with this wheel. Righhhhhhht. I am not going to do that, and if I tried, I would destroy something irreparably- a ligament, a bone, something. I just know it. If you can do this, go for it.
But for me, I was content to just run through the postures that Plexus recommended, shown below, and I felt the benefits almost immediately:
I did not expect so much versatility (or pain-pleasure, kind of like how a massage hurts and feels good at the same time) in these simple wheels. After some adjusting and a bit of maneuvering, these positions really made a big difference in my day to day. The leg stretches alone were worth the price of admission to me, and I am using the Micro wheel behind my back as I type this for my posture.