Sim racing and the health attached to it are not talked about much. We are here to change that.
“Happiness lies, first of all, in health.” Even 18th-century author George William Curtis knew this was the case. Hundreds of years later, his statement still holds value and sim racers know that as well. If you have ever had a really bad day or something has massively bummed you out, your lap times will suffer eventually.
So we took it upon ourselves to give you some basic guidelines on how to stay healthy and full of vigour when putting your pedal to the metal. Just note that we are no medical experts and as such we refrain from giving out case-specific advice. If you encounter problems with your body while sim racing, please get in touch with a physician of your choice and get real treatment.
If you think about injured backs or messed-up hands in sports, you might think of Wrestling or something like extreme motocross. But what is less commonly known among the general population is that injuries due to wear and tear can be as detrimental to a career as freak accidents.
Sim racing is no different. Even though your range of motion is relatively limited in comparison to physical activity, the continuously stiff positions your body is in can easily wear out joints or cause other problems.
Direct wild wheels
The general discourse when talking about injuries from sim racing is less about wear and more about sudden issues caused by strong force feedback from wheels. In numerous forums, there are posts about bruised fingers and even sprained wrists. This is usually the cause of a DD-wheel getting a mind of its own after a crash and the driver not getting their hands off of it in time.
Videos like this showcase the strength these wheels possess.
To prevent this from happening, the obvious answer is to take your hands off the wheel as soon as you suspect a big hit into a wall or anything like that. But this may also be a setting issue for your specific game.
When it comes to muscle or tendon wear, there are many different opinions as to why and how it happens. What seems to be established as a fact is that long and intense pressure can cause problems over time. There are many reports about the fear of developing what is called trigger finger in sim racing.
This condition is an inflammation in one of your tendons that can cause one of your fingers to lock up.
Even though this occurs with women more often than men, the root cause seems to be unhealthy amounts of gripping without any downtime. Something sim racers in particular relate to. This condition is usually treated by injection of cortisol or a small-scale surgery.
Ask a pro
But what better way to check for possible problems than to ask one of the industry’s own. We talked to sim racing professional Moritz Löhner to give us insight into potential problems he might have encountered. Surprisingly it wasn’t anything hand-related.
Especially on tracks with intense braking like Monza, where you have to put a lot of pressure on your left foot, you can have increased soreness in your lumbar area.
This type of issue can lead to further problems if not treated correctly, which we will tackle now.
Move like a sim racer sting like an athlete
While there are several physical issues sim racers run into, there are very prominent ways to treat them. Most of these involve physical exercise.
Tendon problems on your hands are hard to prevent as you can’t suddenly stop the race to stretch your hands a little. But doing hand exercises before and after is highly recommended for the dedicated racer. Dr. Levi Harrison has produced exceptionally great videos for these cases.
Similar things apply to your back. If you regularly stretch or do yoga, you will have an easier time if you end up in a longer sim racing session.
Moritz Löhner explained what he does to stay healthy in the rig:
I run on the regular to keep a certain level of base fitness. Sim racing can be as intense as anything, and fitness can help you stay level-headed in heated situations. A good diet is also essential to keep yourself fit to race.
All in all, sim racing is probably one of the hobbies less likely to leave you injured or sidelined for a long time. However, if you don’t keep an eye on your body, there will be repercussions. We did not touch on anything concerning mental health or hardware in this article. If you want to know more about that, please let us know in the comments.
Do you want to know more about how to stay healthy in sim racing? Tell us on Twitter at @Overtake_gg or in the comments down below!