Season 1, Episode 7

Esports ergonomics and posture with Violeta Ivanova

Esports Phyiotherapist and all-round gaming superhero Violeta Ivanova talks to us about the benefits of health support for esports professionals. 

We also discuss:

How gaming is better than TV
Exergaming
How I blame Daily Thompson’s Decathlon for my woes
Will esports shift to VR?
Healthcare gamification
Philosophy and the Brain Computer Interfaces of the future
The importance of movement – in both yourself and you environment!

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About This Episode

Esports ergonomics and posture with Violeta Ivanova

esports ergonomics and posture
Violeta is all about future trends in esports physiotherapy and the gamification of healthcare. She works with Roots Gaming, a Finnish esports team, and has a wealth of experience helping keep gamers functioning at their very best.

Transcript – esports ergonomics

James Crow
Hi, everybody, thanks so much for coming back to the Posture Stars podcast. It’s James here again. And today we’re going to be speaking to Violeta Ivanova who’s a physiotherapist working in eSports. Hello, Violeta.

Violeta Ivanova
Hi, thank you for having me.

James Crow
Thanks so much for coming on. I’ve been really looking forward to speaking to you. I’ve heard a lot of stuff going on on the internet about how you’re helping people in eSports, and I’ve a particular interest in playing computer games myself. So it’s right up my street. So what are you doing at the moment with eSports?

Violeta Ivanova
So I’m working as a physical performance coach for Roots Gaming, the Finnish CS:GO team. So we’re working on trying to get the basics, right, the ergonomics, the nutrition, sleep, and then further moving into exercising and trying to get the in-game performance increased from having physical interventions.

James Crow
Wow. So they’re getting the full package, and they’re getting really well looked after. If these were a cow that you could eat, they’d be the most massaged cow on the planet.

Violeta Ivanova
I should hope so!

James Crow
I was thinking earlier, gaming now is so popular, it’s become more lucrative in many ways than film. And I think gaming is bringing in more money than film at the moment, is that right?

Violeta Ivanova
Yeah, I think so. Especially during the last year, and now that we’re continuing with the whole COVID situation worldwide. There’s only as many marathons on Netflix you can do before you run out of options that you’re interested in. And I think when it comes to film, and watching TV series, or TV, in general, it’s a very passive kind of content consumption, which gets boring really quickly. Like you get through the binge, and then you have nothing else to do. And after, maybe a month, for the really hardcore people, it’s gonna become a bit boring. So gaming comes into place, because it’s interactive. So you get all the dopamine from the gamification mechanics included in games, it’s fun, it’s social, for the most part. And it’s a lot more rewarding than just sitting and watching something.

James Crow
Totally, I always say, if your screen hasn’t got a mouse attached to it one way or another, then it’s broken. It’s no use to you, you need to be interacting with technology nowadays, rather than sitting passively. And you know, there’s great stuff to watch on Netflix and Amazon and all those shows, but there’s nothing that can beat playing with your friends and playing online interactively. But what worries me is that a lot of people are spending all day maybe at work or at college, and then they’re spending all their evenings playing games, and they’re not looking after themselves physically. And that’s, I guess, where you come in.

Violeta Ivanova
Yeah. And I think in the last couple years, as well, there has been a big rise in exergaming or exercise games, which use all the benefits on gaming, but they make you move around.A few years ago, we had the whole Wii situation but now it’s even more with Nintendo Switch. I think you guys in the UK area, sold out completely on the Ring Fit Adventure hardware, that was quite fun to watch before the second lockdown, or third or whatever number you guys are on now.

James Crow
We’ve lost count!

Violeta Ivanova
Yeah, and then with the development of VR, Beat Sabre has been massively successful. So there is definitely a move towards getting gamers more physically involved in playing. But I do agree that a lot of gaming done is very sedentary, and you lose very quickly track of time. And then it predisposes for bigger risks. And part of what I do, and why I do it, is that I want to help gamers, and especially on the professional level, to be able to play as long as possible, because it is something that they’ve chosen as a profession. So I’d like to make sure that they can do it for as long as possible, but also as safely as possible.

James Crow
So this is a real challenge for gaming, isn’t it because when I work with office workers at the moment, people working from home in particular, we use queues to get them moving. We use break timers, we use cognitive tricks to get them to pay attention to themselves whilst they’re paying attention to the screen. Whereas when you’re in a game, you are completely lost in the game and very unlikely to want after 20 minutes, something to be reminding you to get up and move and stretch. It’s just not gonna work.

Violeta Ivanova
Yeah, it’s a lot easier to lose track of time. And there’s a lot more focus being involved when you’re playing a game, well as compared to office work. And I think the challenge is to make sure that players know that while you’re playing or performing it, it’s okay to not pay that much attention. And that might sound very controversial. But when when players compete, I don’t want them to think about anything else but getting that win. And I understand that there’s a lot of focus being involved in that. So this is the only thing I want them to think about. After the match is done, then we can think about “Okay, now we have 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes before the next game, what can we do within that time”, because 10 minutes is still quite a good amount of time to do some physical, physical work. So what can we do within within that time that we have to make sure that you can perform as good within the next game when you have to win again. So this is kind of how we’re splitting it. in office work, you would have the 20 minutes or 30 minutes that you can get up at any point and still do your job. In gaming, we do it so that if a match is 30 to 40 minutes, then we take the stretching or posture adjustment right after that, and then they can go back to playing. And then within the next break, there would be more physical activity. There will be one alternative for those playing at home. Or if you’re not competing on the match kind of system: Every time you die, and you have to wait for respawn, you can do some squats, you can do some stretching, you can do a couple jumps, and then get back into the game. Because in some games that could stretch into quite a while for just doing nothing and waiting, like League of Legends is one of them. If you die a lot, you will wait a lot for respawn. So I like to tell my players that by the end of this, you’re either going to be a better player and not die as much, or you’re going to be better physically. And in my opinion, it’s a win-win.

James Crow
Yeah, so definitely a win-win if they can play better and take the time to look after themselves as well. In terms of peripherals and interfaces. I’ve always been a PC gamer, as long as PC games have been around. So whenever I think about posture for eSports, I always think about keyboards and mice. Is that still predominant?

Violeta Ivanova
Yeah, that would be the case in the majority of the gaming.

James Crow
How do people choose a good keyboard what is a good keyboard that would help them ergonomically?

Violeta Ivanova
It’s really hard to say and it is definitely a rabbit hole that I went down. When I was writing my thesis on carpal tunnel syndrome and esport, your wrist ergonomics play a really big part in how much stress is your hand going to be under. There is no right solution. In this case, because gaming peripherals are quite different from office ones. In the sense that the buttons are higher, if you get something like typical mechanical gaming keyboard, the buttons will be higher or taller than the standard office keyboard, you’re more likely not going to have a wrist rest on them, you’re more likely not going to have it a very ergonomically adjusted office setting. So most gamers will play at home where they have designed their desk based on mostly aesthetics rather than function. And there’s nothing really that we can do about that. So it’s more the intervention comes in the times that they can get out rather than while they’re using the peripherals. Something that could be adjusted is more when it comes to mouse usage in terms of grip styles or higher-end performance. A lot of players are utilising a claw grip, which can put a lot more stress on the wrist. And what I found during my thesis was that the longer distance travelled with the mouse hand, led to a higher chance for developing symptoms like burning in the fingers or in the hand, which is not necessarily a risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. But it tells us that there is something that we can do about alleviating that. So in this sense, I have instructed my players to if you if you like using claw grip while you compete, that’s fine, do it. But most of the other time, try to use a more relaxed palm grip which is not going to stress out your rest as much. Addressing something like mouse size is also good. If you have really big hands you shouldn’t be using a mouse that is way too small for you. Because that is just awkward for your wrist position. But in the end of the day in terms of performance, players know and trust their peripheral so I wouldn’t want to change that too much, but rather what else we can do to help with that.

James Crow
Oh, I get you, I get you. So they’ve got their favourite mouse and they get the best performance from it. And no matter what you said in terms of musculoskeletal risk, you’re unlikely to change their mind on using that product. I like to mitigate my risk because I work at a keyboard, and I also play lots of games. So I use, it’s called a Contour Unimouse, have you come across these? So I can switch between an upright grip and a near horizontal grip as well. And so playing first person I’ll have the more horizontal, and if I’m doing office tasks I’ll do the more vertical. Do you think that’s a good idea?

Violeta Ivanova
Yeah, I think so. We’re kind of doing the most of the time versus some of the time. And that would also apply for any kind of posture adjustment or ergonomic adjustment that you want, most of the time, to be doing things correctly, or as correctly as you can. And then some of the time, which would be the time that you are competing, you’re performing, you have other priorities, then your posture, then, in this sense, just do it however you feel comfortable, whatever you’re used to. And with time, the “most of the time” will become “all of the time”, but it takes a long time to to get used to having a different posture or a different grip. So we are working on 80% versus 20% in terms of peripheral usage. And it’s a lot more attainable, in my opinion, for players. And it’s a good conversation starter. And it won’t it won’t hinder performance because every time you approach a professional eSports athlete and you say “hey, I can help you with this, this and that”. And all they can hear is “okay, so you’re gonna take me out of practice, or you’re gonna change something about the way I do things. I don’t like it because I want to win”. It’s like no, we want people to win, it’s just everything else we can do to help them. It’s going to help with more winnings in the future.

James Crow
It’s difficult to persuade them to pay attention to improving their form. They’d rather be just there in the moment, making the small wins and winning that way. Wow. difficult. It’s a difficult sell, isn’t it, but I’m sure the companies that employ you see the benefit. When I started gaming, we used to play a game, this is back in the 80’s, and we used to play a game called Daily Thompson’s decathlon which involves hammering your keyboard as fast as you can with two digit fingers, or using a competition pro joystick and thrashing it from left to right for about 10 minutes at a time. And I ended up in later life suffering from repetitive strain injury which I’ve since overcome. But I blame Daley Thompson personally. So if he’s still out there and listening, “Daley Thompson, it’s your fault to answer for!”

Violeta Ivanova
Gaming is nothing new. And competitive, or in some cases, obsessive gaming is also nothing new. The parents who are mad at their kids playing Fortniyr nowadays, were probably the same ones who in their childhood, were completely obsessed over playing Mario. And spending late nights just hammering that thumb into the controller. And their parents who were mad at them then, were probably the kids in their childhood who had wrist pain from using a Rubik’s Cube too much. Because that was also a thing about carpal tunnel syndrome in in the past, when Rubik’s Cube became the new mania, everyone was doing it all the time, everywhere. There’s nothing new about people playing something that they enjoy for long hours in a day. It’s just how we can support them in that.

James Crow
Maybe all those parents are getting fed up because they want to use the screen and play something more sedate like Valheim or something themselves.

Violeta Ivanova
Maybe they should play with their kids.

James Crow
Well, maybe maybe they should. I have a I have a young kid and he’s always really keen to play with me, but I’m keeping him away from computer games and screen time until he’s older. Because I know how addictive it was when I was younger. I was particularly good at sports at junior school until we got a Commodore 64. And then I was really good at Rambo! In fact, I was the third best in Britain on Rambo on the Commodore 64 in 1986. And personally, I think I was first best but the department I sent my score to were delayed in printing it. So that man who got first best on Rambo in 1986 I’m coming after you, I’m gonna beat you. He’s out there somewhere. I guess people also they like to get the hands busy. They use fidget spinners and all sorts of stuff like that nowadays as well. What’s going to happen as VR takes over? Are we likely to see less and less keyboard and mouse use? VR is becoming really popular at the moment this year. How’s that going to work with eSports?

Violeta Ivanova
There is already VR being used in simulator racing, as far as I know, or at least is very popular in something like Formula One eSports or rally games. In Finland, they’re trying to build a whole VR eSports League, but I’m not sure yet what kind of games are involved there, I think it has its uses, definitely, I think we’re gonna see a lot more development from the sorts of something like Half Life Alyx, that was a really good example on what you can do in terms of first person shooter in a VR setting. So I think we need to work more on the peripherals. A lot of gamers have been asking for an omnidirectional treadmill. Just that experience. I think before we get to that, we might see more broken TV screens, which is always the case when something new comes up. But I personally think it’s very exciting. This is still pandemic time. And I don’t think it’s getting away anytime soon. And it’s probably not going to be the last one that’s going to make everybody stay at home. So VR offers quite unique possibilities for entertainment, but also for movement. Games like Beat Sabre have been really great in terms of movement, but also, at least I follow a lot of rehabilitation scene. So for rehabilitation, VR has been amazing. We’ve seen cases of burn victims that have had reduced amount of medication because they use VR treatment. And it has shown that it’s reducing their pain. And a lot of chronic pain patients also respond very positively to VR treatments or games, or something along those lines. Even if it’s just a virtual trip, somewhere. We’ve seen a lot of elderly homes also adopt these kind of virtual travels, virtual explorations. I believe personally, it’s a myth that elderly people are too afraid of technology. At least in my experience, they really enjoy it because it’s something new and fun. And they’re very eager to use that. So in that sphere, it’s very well developing. And we’re seeing a lot of assistive aids to come with it, which will eventually transfer into the more traditional gaming. So we’ll get to see eventually, the omnidirectional treadmill and all the gun attachments for first person shooters for VR.

James Crow
I can’t wait. Personally, I can’t wait. I wonder with regards to elderly people and what you were saying, that that they’re not really afraid of the technology. That’s my experience, too. There’s a bit of a meme out there that old people are afraid of new technology. But I think what people are seeing is that, yes, some older people are afraid of new technology. But they’re also afraid of any change. Whereas generally older people embrace change, and are quite looking forward to new activities. So I think that’s misguided, that generalisation.

Violeta Ivanova
And I wish I could see more of healthcare professionals embracing technology as well, because there is the, I don’t know if I should call it disconnection. But it is widely considered as something that we shouldn’t really focus on, until we actually have to focus on it. But by that point, it’s been 20 years and somebody else has been using new technologies to help others for all this time. At least on my behalf. I try to keep up with what’s coming out. Even if it’s something that has not been necessarily backed by solid amount of science, I would like to try it out. And I would like to offer it to my clients and to my patients. Because what we’re doing now, what we’re offering, is treatment, which is, the most typical would be you got to see a physio they give you a piece of paper with a programme and tell you “see you in two weeks and do these exercises at home.” Most of the time people don’t do it and the programme ends up in the back of a drawer and they come back in two weeks. They’re like “yeah, of course I’ve done it.” When in fact you can see that they have no idea what exercises we’re talking about. So using gamification, using technologies to help motivate them through that process and to make it more fun, that can definitely show much better results in the rehabilitation process. Because you can’t expect somebody to go, in some cases we have might take even 6 months to 12 months. No-one’s gonna follow a piece of paper for 6 to 12 months every single day. It’s not motivating. It’s not fun. And there’s other ways to do it. So why not offer that? Rehabilitation doesn’t have to be a chore. Being healthy shouldn’t be a chore to anybody.

James Crow
With virtual reality, is there a musculoskeletal risk, do you think, in wearing extra weight attached to the front of the head?

Violeta Ivanova
There has not been any any confirmation or any issues with people using that even if we’re talking arthritis. cases, it’s not really related to the weight of the device itself. If anything, it helps people move, which improves their wellbeing afterwards. musculoskeletal conditions, something like arthritis will go worse, the less you move, so we want people who have arthritis to keep moving and to be active. So in this sense, the benefits will overcome the the negatives.

James Crow
Gabe Newell of Steam was recently talking about brain computer interfaces (BCI). And he was talking about our limbs as being, I remember this wrong I only briefly looked at it, but it was talking about our limbs being our meat peripherals. And that our brain computer interface won’t need these so much. That actually we’ll get better sensory appreciation from the brain computer interface than we would from our own visual system, as an example. Which kind of tends towards me thinking, well, people are going to be moving less if they using brain computer interfaces. Is that something that’s risen in your arena? Or is that still too fresh to contemplate?

Violeta Ivanova
I have heard kind of similar things from eSports players along the lines of “why would we need a physio if we sit all day, and we use cognitive performance to play games.” But truth is, even if you get a computer in your brain, you’re not chopping off your head to work independently. So you still need the rest of your body to function. Because we’re not anywhere near functioning only in the cloud, as humans. So I would say that, yes, maybe for performance purposes, you will get more benefits from only using the brain computer that you get However, for the rest of your body to function, and for that brain computer to keep functioning, you need the other parts. So you’ll have to move anyway, in terms of if you want to do better cognitive performance, you need to also have physical health to achieve that, because that will support it. If you have poor physical health, your cognitive performance will go down as well, because you don’t just function as the head. You also have the rest of your body attached to it.

James Crow
This is great news, everybody. For everybody, all of you sat there listening to this, you’re not just a head, you have got a body attached, so make sure you look after it. And yeah, that’s probably news to a lot of people Violetea. Very cerebral people will often forget to look after themselves physically. And the downside is that they perform less well cerebrally. And there is science to back that up. Although there is a school of philosophy that suggests that we’re all just brains in vats and don’t have bodies at all. So then that means that Gabe Newell’s brain computer interface is a brain in a vat in a brain in a vat. And the argument gets slightly confusing. So maybe maybe we’re brains in vats in the brain in the vat in the brain in the vat, talking about brains in vats, I don’t know,

Violeta Ivanova
I would tell them to talk to a psychosomatic therapist because they might have something else to say, because that is also part of what physiotherapists do. Part of it is psychosomatic physiotherapy, in which to really simplify it, the usual treatment we do is for people who have lost the connection between their mind and their body.

James Crow
We need more of those, we need more of those because where I am in the northwest of England, I’m not alone in wandering mindless around the streets. Okay, well, I guess I’d better bring up my first question, which we’ve talked very much about eSports and how you help, which is really useful. So my first question that I ask all of my podcast guests is “Violetta, what is posture posture?”

Violeta Ivanova
Posture is how you are as a human, within a certain space. There is no right posture, there is no wrong posture. There is no broken posture that needs fixing. It’s how you are and you can improve yourself, as with anything, but there is nothing inherently wrong with it.

James Crow
I’ve worked with a lot of people with possible problems, and some of them are nature and some of them are nurture. And for someone to say you’ve got bad posture is a real kick in the teeth to those people. So to hear that posture is movement within a continuum, then I think that’s a really good thing. How do you help people with their posture?

Violeta Ivanova
I think you hit a really good spot there before telling somebody that they have a bad posture or that something needs fixing, actually does more harm than helps anybody. Because, the same as you’re waiting in a waiting room before seeing a doctor and seeing a picture with a red low back will cause you to have more low back pain than you had before, telling somebody that something with them is wrong, it’s going to bring even worse symptoms and less motivation to get better afterwards. So the way we help people, at least in Finland, physiotherapists are therapists, we do a very holistic approach, meaning that we have the knowledge, but we also ask people what they prefer. So let’s say somebody loves to swim, we can say, “Okay, let’s just apply all the knowledge that we have, as part of your swimming programme or as Aqua therapy”, or if somebody likes nature, then we say, “Okay, let’s do the activities outdoors.” If it’s possible, somewhere in a forest. We do a very combined approach depending on what is needed. So let’s say somebody has issues with pain, which is the usual case in which people would come to us, and if that is looking like it’s stemming from poor posture, then we try to alleviate that through exercising, through strengthening muscles and structures, and to really help the person get better habits in their life, which will continue that progress that we want to see. And eventually their symptoms will lessen. And if it’s something more acute, of course, we have other methods like kinesio typing, and in some cases, manual mobilizations. However it’s a lot more difficult, when in order for someone to get better, you need them to actually do it themselves. So we’re going away from all the manual therapies and procedure based therapy in Finland, and more towards empowering people and motivating them to take better care of themselves.

James Crow
Definitely the right way to be doing it. Although I am a bit scared. As you said earlier, it was minus 17 degrees centigrade in Finland. And if you are encouraging people to go swimming outdoors, you might not see much more of them after that, that might be the end of them.

Violeta Ivanova
Actually, ice swimming is really popular here. People do it. There are certainly benefits, particularly in neurological clients. I’ve heard a lot of patients with, let’s say, MS (muscular sclerosis). That or Parkinson’s, that say that colder water helps them and they use it as part of the rehabilitation. Some people would go, at least once a week, go to some ice swimming spot, and then they feel a lot better. Or if we have Aqua therapy, they would they would feel a lot better if the water is a bit cooler for them because it helps their normally overexcited neuro system to be a bit more calm. So then they could do activities a bit more fluently.

James Crow
When I go surfing in the North Sea., i’ts always when I fill up my most alive ,when the water is absolutely freezing cold. It really wakes you up. Okay, so fantastic. You’ve told me what do you think posture is and how you help with posture. So I have a final question which I like to ask, which is “For our listeners right now, if there was one thing that they could do to improve their posture, what would that be?”

Violeta Ivanova
Keep changing positions. It’s something that people who try to sell ergonomic solutions, they really hate physios for saying that. But whatever you’re using, whether you’re at home, at the office, or anywhere else, just keep changing your position because it like mentioned earlier, it’s not the sitting that is going to cause your symptoms. It’s the sitting for too long. And it will happen the same way as if you’re standing for too long. So there is not necessarily an easy solution. A quick tip would be just keep changing positions and keep moving around.

James Crow
Yeah, you heard it here. Everybody get get out of your chair or if you’ve been standing for long periods of time go and have a rest. I love sit stand electric desks and I use one of them every day. Is that something that has any benefits at all in eSports? Do people stand to play?

Violeta Ivanova
I think most don’t because it is still something that is quite expensive to get. And usually it’s something that offices would be equipped with, at least in Finland, but what I’ve noticed in more traditional physiotherapy work is that people who have sit-to-stand desks, they either sit or they stand, they forget the whole point that it can be adjusted. And the idea of it is that you change your position, like once every couple of hours. Like I mentioned, if you stand for a whole day, it’s not gonna do you any better than if you sit all day. Sit to stand desk is great, I think it’s a really nice possibility that you could change your position every once in a while. If you don’t have access to a sit to stand desk than having a normal desk, but sitting on something like an exercise ball, or just having a balance cushion on your normal chair can help you achieve that moving your position around and weight shifting of your body, even when you’re not entirely changing your your posture like sitting to standing.

James Crow
I guess that’s what you’re doing with your gaming community, Violeta, is that they are sitting, dedicated sitting for the period of their competitive sport. And then you’re getting them to move immediately afterwards and recover from from the downside of being static and engrossed in the game for so long.

Violeta Ivanova
Yeah, you will be surprised what a couple of – just stand up, shake your legs around, do a little bit of stretching, and maybe walk around the house. If you have stairs, go up and down like 5 to 10 stairs and then get back into the chair. It does improve your focus, it gives you a little bit of change. Not only talking about a sitting ergonomics, but also your environment: having the same environment and the same focus point for long periods of time will get you’re really tired of it. So you want to be able to change that around, whether it’s to look at something else, or to look through the window. So we want to keep that going, to have the focus, then have a little bit of shift of position on what your eyes are seeing, to also help with the fatigue. And then get back into the chair, do your job. And then you swap again.

James Crow
So a lot of people will be sitting for a while and then they’ll stand but they’re looking at their phone and scrolling through their phone, and the focal length of their eyes isn’t changing from one screen to the next. Whereas looking out of a window is a great exercise and rest for your eyeballs, which is really good thing to do. Do you have your eSports competitors work on their eyes as much as you work on the rest of their physicality?

Violeta Ivanova
I think in terms of eye health, the biggest thing that we’ve been discussing is more to get a good amount of sleep, to have appropriate lighting in the environment that they’re playing at. So the environmental ergonomics are a big factor, especially in Finland, where the matches are usually done with UK time. So for here, it’s plus two hours. So they will be pretty late in the evenings. Something like 9 or 10pm. You also have the environment outside which in winter, that means that there is about two to three hours of daylight in my area. And then summertime it switches to the point where the sun doesn’t set. So you really need to be able to influence your working environment, and your sleeping environment.

James Crow
So I’m hearing a really interesting theme that’s coming across in everything that you’ve mentioned, it’s about mobility and fluidity, physically. Also in terms of use of peripherals and ergonomics, and of the environment, of the light. Really, you are suggesting mobility, in all aspects of working and gaming as well.

Violeta Ivanova
Yes the possibility to change your environment and your surroundings. I think it’s especially important for not just gamers ,who are mostly focused at home, but also to anybody else who is working from home. I think the part that that gets people fatigued like , we’re talking now about zoom fatigue and working from home fatigue. You see the same thing every single day. And that is very tiring. If the only thing you do is get from bed to your desk and then back to the bed it can get very monotonous pretty quickly. So you can do so many things, to just change around your environment, without having to change that much necessarily. Lighting is one of them. Moving how your monitor is positioned is also one thing, because sure you’re looking at your monitor the whole time, but your eyes also see what’s around it. So changing out those things that are behind your monitor or around it can can really make a difference in how you feel during the day and how tired you are at the end of it.

James Crow
That’s something I’d never considered, the stuff of behind and around your monitor. We’re advising at the moment that if people spend a quarter or a third of their day on zoom or teams that they do their teams and zooms standing. And then they do the rest of the work sitting to get some variability in. But I had never considered changing what is going on behind the monitor, I guess that’s a new one on me. Maybe people should have a fish tank behind their monitor, or I guess people with dogs get a lot and cats get a lot of movement going on.

Violeta Ivanova
Yeah, that would be one option. Another one that I would suggest would be having a window behind your computer monitor, I’ve seen a lot of people have their window behind their back, which in my opinion, is quite distracting. Because if the sun is shining, it’s going to shine straight to your monitor and be a lot more straining on your eyes, if you need to look at it for half the day. Rather than that, just move your monitor, if possible to be in front of your windows so that your eyes have that visual break with the background. Having a plant around you is also beneficial. It’s not necessarily going to clean your air, like most people believe. You don’t live in a jungle, if you do great, but it gives you that visual visual change. And it’s something that itself will change as it grows. So it adds value to that. But also different kinds of lighting behind your monitor. I know some gaming monitors have that led in the back. During the day, you can change it in different colours, not necessarily the rainbow effect, I would not recommend that but change it to a different static colour, or during the different times of the day. That would be great. Changing wall art if you can. If you can’t, then you can put it on the side of your computer and just keep changing them up every couple of weeks. It just makes it new without having anything necessarily new.

James Crow
That sounds like a real good incentive for our listeners to do a bit of moving stuff around on their desk, after listening to this podcast. In fact, turn us off right now. Stop listening to this and get your desk sorted and dust it as well. If you’re if your desk is anything like my desk at the moment, believe me, it’s not good for the environment. I do I do have plants on my desk, but they are also covered in a layer of dust. So maybe that’s not so good for my environment. I think we do have the same one.

Violeta Ivanova
Yeah, spider plants!

James Crow
Yeah. Which which are supposed to be very good for breathing quality. But if they’ve got half an inch of dust on, like mine, then maybe that’s that’s not the case. I think I’m gonna have to clean my plants now, thanks for this Violeta!

Violeta Ivanova
There goes the rest of the day!

James Crow
Stick it on the to do list.

Violeta Ivanova
Actually, in the last year, house plants have been just completely exploding in terms of market sales because people are stuck at home. So they need something to do that it’s not involving computer screens. So people have been buying and buying house plants, which I think is great. Gardening is definitely a nice hobby to have with all the mental health benefits. And it causes you to move around, which is great. And now a lot of people are transitioning into growing different kinds of vegetables and herbs, which is also great. So yeah, get some plants around your computer, and you’re gonna feel really nice and refreshed.

James Crow
Excellent, excellent advice. And if you can’t get them inside, then make sure to get a little bit of time outside as well. Unless it’s pitch black and minus 17 degrees in which case wrap up warm first, but do get outside. You’ve got to haven’t you.

Violeta Ivanova
Yeah, you have to.

James Crow
Okay, so I’ve enjoyed speaking with you Violeta Ivanova, physiotherapist specialising in eSports. That’s been really helpful. I’ve learned loads of stuff from you today. And I feel like I’m completely up to date now in terms of physiotherapy and eSports. So I can pretend to know lots about it, now, as a result of doing this podcast, and I hope our listeners feel more educated as well. Thank you so much for your time.

Violeta Ivanova
Thank you for having me.

James Crow
Now everybody go on, go and clean your house plants. Get out of here. Cheerio.

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