Elden Ring: A Literal Pain In the Ass

by 
 | April 13, 2022

After over 100 maidenless hours spent on my first playthrough of Elden Ring, I’ve been given a great sense of triumph and accomplishment. To read my initial thoughts on the first 30 hours of the game, click here. Besides claiming my seat on the throne as an Elden Lord, I’ve also received something that will stick with me longer than any in-game achievement ever will, back pain. Through all the spellcasting, monster-slaying, and dog spotting, my character, Triss, easily got her 10,000 daily steps in. She explored crumbled ruins, dense forests, and scaled the tallest mountain in all of The Lands Between. On the other end of the controller sat a man in his apartment, enjoying a genre-defining adventure while contorted in rotating spots on his office chair or the cheap, uncomfortable couch he found on an online marketplace. I’m no stranger to multi-hour game sessions, but as I reach the decrepit age of 30, the damage inflicted by these long gaming shifts vividly rears its ugly head. Playing Elden Ring has become a literal pain in the ass.

As nerd culture connoisseurs, we all have our personal “Elden Ring.” An experience you enjoy can be so consuming that you neglect your body’s warning signs and basic needs to stretch and move. Between the abundance of entertainment services fighting for your attention (and your wallet!) and the increase in work-from-home positions over the last two years, I know I’m not the only one aching. This isn’t an article meant to shame you for enjoying time-consuming activities. But to remind you that finding a balance between your physical and mental health needs is key to living a happy, healthy life.

An Elden Lord’s best attempt at the Mountain Pose

So, what are we to do as indoor inclined individuals? Over the years, many new experiences have emerged to help keep gamers physically active while holding a controller in their hand. With the emergence of virtual reality consoles being more accessible than ever, games like Beat Saber, Supernatural, and Pistol Whip combine sweat-inducing action with addictive game mechanics. My favorite exercise-centric videogame, Ring Fit Adventure for the Nintendo Switch, hit all-time popularity in the spring of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For months this title couldn’t be found on store shelves. Two years later, the game is very accessible and still a blast to play on a rainy day. Ring Fit Adventure combines yoga and cardio exercises with the help of placing both Joy-Con controllers into a ring-shaped Pilates peripheral device as well as a leg strap, provided with a copy of the game. Over time, creative minds have even found a way to use a modified version of the Ring Fit Adventure controller to beat a boss in Elden Ring.

Having lived through many gloomy Seattle winters, I’m someone who counts down the days until daylight savings time when the light lingers further into the evenings. With literal brighter days ahead of us, I know that the opportunities to keep my body in motion will multiply. In the meantime, I’ve prioritized limiting my single session playtime, invested in a yoga mat, and stretching utilizing a foam roller. While I won’t be attempting any boss fights using the produce in my fridge, I’m hoping to keep my body limber so that I may comfortably enjoy my preferred hobbies for years to come! 

Companies in the entertainment sphere will always compete for your time, data, and wallet. And while I loved every second of my playthrough of Elden Ring, it has really been a wake-up call that I’m not as limber as I once was. If I want to continue being able to enjoy playing games pain-free until I’m much older, some lifestyle changes will need to be made. They don’t have to be earth-shatteringly large commitments from the start, but I know that the longer you wait, the harder it is to break a bad habit. Committing to daily exercise or small changes like including Ring Fit Adventure into my gaming routine should be seen as an investment in myself. It’s easier said than done, but I know we could all benefit from getting off the couch a bit more and staying active. 

What is your personal “Elden Ring” these days? What are some of your best practices for keeping your body flexible while enjoying your favorite hobbies? Let me know in the comments below! 

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