Nicholas Harding, Habib Noorbhai. Physical activity levels, lifestyle behaviour and musculoskeletal health profiles among seated video gamers during COVID-19. 

The full article can be accessed here.


Nicholas Harding




Tell us more about yourself and the author team.

Mr Nicholas Harding is a registered Biokineticist and has recently completed his professional degree in Biokinetics at the University of Johannesburg. This paper formed part of his fourth-year research project. Prof Habib Noorbhai (who supervised the project) is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Biomedical Engineering and Healthcare Technology (BEAHT) Research Centre at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg.


What is the story behind your study?

The gaming industry is rapidly propelling towards mass adoption and uptake. Particularly, video gaming, which has been on the rise, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This research study aimed to determine the physical activity levels of non-active video gamers and how much other time was spent with sedentary behaviours, both in recreational and occupational domains. It was also essential to establish whether seated video gameplay, a sedentary hobby, contributed to increased prevalence of physical inactivity and poor musculoskeletal health among adult video gamers. To do this, it was necessary to investigate this population’s lifestyles, gaming habits, and musculoskeletal health.


In your own words, what did you find?

There is a link between seated video gaming and musculoskeletal pain among participants. High frequency and duration for video gaming among gamers do not affect physical activity for moderate and vigorous intensities but involve musculoskeletal pain. Being conscious of good posture is rarely prioritised by seated video gamers. A vast majority stated that they did not use any aids to assist them with good posture.


What was the main challenge you faced in your study?

Despite the online nature of the study, recruiting more participants was a challenge. Although a sufficient sample was obtained, more participants would have yielded more significant insights into their gaming behaviours. Due to the strict lockdown regulations at the time of data collection, an ergonomics analysis was not possible. It would have provided an additional and important lens into the participants’ musculoskeletal health.


If there is one take-home message from your study, what would that be?

Stand while gaming (where possible) is essential to reduce sedentary behaviour. Also, pay attention to posture, whether playing games on a video console or a mobile device.

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