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LONG BLOG

Experiment: I Got Off My Ass and Gamed For My Health

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Does the name Ernest Hemingway ring a bell? It should, he was one of the world’s finest writers. He lived a fascinating life, won a Pulitzer and Nobel, survived two world wars, walked away from not one, but two plane crashes, and was a big game hunter and fisherman. He was the consummate man’s man

His moustache alone could kick your ass.

 Simply put, he was a hard-drinking and hard-living badass who just so happened to be a great writer when he wasn’t kicking ass. He was also known for the interesting manner in which he would write. Simply put, he wrote standing up. He did this due to a injury he suffered in World War I, but found that it had additional benefits as well.

However, Hemingway's habit of working and writing while standing was shared by other remarkable men as well, such as Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill. They all believed that standing while working increased productivity by fighting fatigue as well as other distractions.

Windston Churchill

Working on foot has seen an increase in popularity lately. All the hipsters are doing it, but a small part of me can't help to feel like this is a fad that will slowly disappear. Not too long ago, the big thing at the office was sitting on a yoga ball. Quite frankly, sitting on a yoga ball at the office looks ridiculous and is dangerous, especially when I'm around. I have to make a conscience effort not to kick your stupid yoga ball chair out from under you.

Also, ladies, be mindful that sitting on a yoga ball can and will expose your ass. Last place I worked had an open office environment (fuck you Google for making this a thing) and the woman who sat directly across from me sat on a yoga ball. She also liked wearing thongs. You can say that this was a slight distraction. Sure, a giant ball can help build your core strength, but you look like a moron while sitting on one at the office.

Don't worry, we'll just throw that ball out when you're done with it.

Standing however, is so much more convenient than sitting on a ball. Some of the benefits of standing include a lower risk of obesity, jump starting your metabolism, and reducing cardiovascular disease and cancer. Not too shabby.

Yes, some offices and people take the standing and working thing to stupid levels. Case and point, the treadmill desk. I also worked in an office that had one of these. It was hardly ever used, because A) it's stupid, B) It's dangerous, and C) It was always broken. Some people have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time, and you're going to recommend that they walk and work on an Excel spreadsheet at the same time?

I used to work at gym a long while back. Since I was a morning person, I got the 5:00 AM to 12:00 PM shift. It wasn't as bad as you would think and was pretty easy. People who exercise in the mornings tend to keep to themselves and are pretty low maintenance. The one downside is that really old people also exercise early in the morning and this particular gym had a ton of octogenarians shuffling in at the ass crack of dawn.

One of my responsibilities was giving orientations to new members. Only old people would sign up for the orientations when they joined the gym, because they're really old, it was free, and the last time they exercised it was to Jack LeLanne's TV show. Nautilus equipment and cardio machines were new and terrifying things to them, and a sleep deprived and possibly hungover college kid had the pleasure to show them how to use it.

Jack Lalanne

Many times, I would sit them down on the leg press machine, which was the first exercise on the circuit, tell them what to do, and they would just sit there, smiling and staring at me. "Is the weight too heavy?" I would ask. "No, I don't think so." Grandma would say. "Okay, because you're not pushing the weight out." I would say. "Ohhhhh, I have to push it myself? I thought the machine did that for me!" Granny would reply.

...And no, we don't have jiggle machines, unfortunately.

I shit you not, this was a very common occurrence. That's why I would save the treadmill for last, because they will just stand there when the belt starts moving and simply fall off back. I learned that the hard way my first week of work at the gym. I was terrified and thought some old man broke his hip on my watch. He said that he didn't know that he HAD TO MOVE HIS OWN FUCKING LEGS!

My, boss, who was a great guy saw that I was freaking out while filling out the accident report. He just laughed and said that people fall of the treadmills all the time and I would get used to it.

And it wasn't just old people who fell off the treadmill. Young people, middle aged people, boys and girls of all ages and back grounds fell off the treadmills all the fucking time. Eventually, I learned to enjoy and actually looked forward to people falling off the treadmills, because they never ever got hurt, working at a gym is boring as hell, and I was and still am a horrible person.

My personal favorite is when people would lose their balance, but hang on for dear life, trying to regain their footing, while the belt was going 10 miles per hour. They would hang onto the bar and it looked like they were getting dragged by an out off control stage coach from an old timey western . I had a good laugh then would scream at them to just turn the fucking machine off.

 

All these people who fell off the treadmill had one thing in common, and that is they were all just trying to walk or run on a treadmill. They weren't trying to do anything fancy. Now, I ask you, do you want these same people to use a laptop or a phone while using a complicated piece of exercise equipment? This is a recipe for disaster when simply standing and working is more than adequate.

With that said, I'm not quite ready to spend eight hours a day standing at my desk. I prefer to take a lot of breaks and walk around the office, checking in on the status of things. There are some folks that I work with that have dove right into standing, but I'm not quite there yet. I prefer to ease into it.

Truth of the matter is, I like sitting at my desk. It feels natural and I'm also incredibly lazy. However, I wanted to see what the whole standing craze was about, so I decided to try it out at home, while playing video games.

It's important to point out that this little experiment constituted playing regular video games while standing, not exercise games on the Wii or Xbox Fitness, where Jillian Michaels yells at you and makes you feel horrible and fat.

I can self loathe without your help Jillian.

First game I tried using the standing method was GTA V on the PS4. Things went well for about the first 15 minutes, until my feet started to hurt. Apparently, one of the major problems of standing for long periods of time is that it's hell on your feet. I should've definitely worn a good pair of shoes. The hard wood floor in my game room wasn't helping either. After a half an hour, I was ready for a break and sat down on my couch, where I stayed for the rest of my gaming session. My first attempt of gaming while standing was a failure.

Next night, I was ready to give it another shot. This time, I was wearing sneakers, and was much more motivated. I was able to play much longer before becoming fatigued, clocking in an hour before I was ready for a break. I also found that I was playing much better. I found it easier to weave through the Los Santos traffic without wrecking and combat was much easier. I felt that I had sharper focus which was probably aided with me being closing to my screen. After the break, I played for another 45 minutes, before calling it a night.

On my second night I was able to play much longer, but I was still fatigued. Standing wasn't the main issue, but rather I was already tired after working an entire day. Gaming while standing isn't relaxing, especially after you're already tired after working all day.

 Luckily the next day was Saturday, so I would be able to test out how gaming while standing would work when I was more well rested. This time, I was going to try out a different type of game and see if that made a difference, so I booted up Forza Motorsport 5 on the Xbox One.

This time around, fatigue wasn't an issue, as I was well rested. Again, I found myself being able to focus on the game and was playing very well. I was taking good lines and easily finishing in the top 3. However, a part of me found playing a racing game standing a bit unorthodox. You drive a car while sitting, so you might as well sit while playing a car racing video game, right?

Unless you're this guy, then nevermind.

Next day being Sunday, I was once again well rested. The wife and kid were also away for the afternoon so I would be able to close out this completely unscientific experiment with minimal distractions.

This time around, I started off with Sunset Overdrive on the Xbox One, a game I have not played previously. Once again, I felt that I was able to focus much better throughout the tutorial and early missions.

 I definitely felt that standing allowed me to block out distractions. While sitting on the couch, even while engrossed in a game, my mind would wander at times. Did I remember to finish that thing at work? Did I leave the stove on? Sure is windy outside... Standing allowed me to block all that stuff out and focus on the game, which is pretty good when you're starting a new title and trying to learn the controls.

Next up was #IDARB, the indie developed sports game mash up. Once again, I haven’t played this game before, so I was able to approach it with laser focus. Once I was comfortable, I jumped into an online match and proceeded to get my assed kicked. However, I did find myself hopping up and down and swaying back and forth like a crazy person. Good thing the wife wasn't around to see this, but the dog sure looked concerned.

Last game for the day would be Titanfall, a title that I have not played for months and was sure to be rusty. I did get schooled quite a bit at first, but after a few games, I found myself finishing in the top 3 regularly, and even leading my team in points in a couple matches. These outcomes were nothing extraordinary, but I did feel that I was able to get back into the swing of things quickly. I would like to believe that playing while standing up helped in this regard.

So, you may asking yourself if I'm now a born again gaming while standing convert? Short answer is no. Standing for extended amount of times is not easy. It's tiring actually. I would be more willing to try out standing all day at work than standing at home while I'm trying to relax. Gaming while standing is almost counterintuitive. Playing a game is supposed to be a relaxing, leisurely experience. I'd rather stand all day at work and then come home and sit on my comfy couch and play a game.

At the end of the day, gaming while standing has it's benefits. Maybe it would be beneficial for competitive gamers as I found being able to focus on the action much easier while standing. You're also burning a handful of calories, which is better than nothing, I suppose. However, if your looking to get healthier, perhaps getting outside for a walk or a run, or god forbid the gym is more worthwhile.

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About SpielerDadone of us since 5:24 PM on 02.08.2013

I'm just a dad writing about games, technology, movies, and geeky stuff that tickles my fancy.

A little background:
- I'm the youngest of two children with one older sister.

- I'm first generation American as my parents were born in Italy.

- Married to a wonderful wife and have two amazing daughters who makes me laugh, smile, cry, and scream every day.

- Hobbies include exercise, reading, writing, sci-fi, film, and of course, video games.