Even if Darwin had collaborated with Nostradamus, he’d probably have no clue that it would get to this. But here we are now, left with a few choices to take the story forward.
Good health can provide liberties that alternative resources (like money and work success) can never replace. Bad health can take all that you’ve slogged hard for and make it redundant. And yet, in our pursuit of a happy and prosperous retired life (several decades away), we allow our priorities to get messed up during our youth.
For those with a desk-job, the good health tips listed below are equally important for men and women.
It would be difficult to figure out any industry where computers have not replaced the traditional pen and paper.
Computer usage is not restricted to IT professionals; it has found a place in every field, be it banking, HR, construction industry, finance, e-commerce, accounting, tours and travels; almost every field you can think of has a dependency on the computer or the internet.
However this over-dependency and overuse of computers has opened the door to a host of health problems. The IT professionals or those who have to spend their entire working hours before the computer are likely to be the ones most affected.
Posture-related problems seem to be the most common of the lot. This would include pain in the neck, back, shoulder, arms as well as headaches. A lot of us slouch and sit in the wrong posture for a prolonged period which is the culprit for such problems.
– Chairs should be comfortable, your upper and lower back need to be supported.
– Your elbows should rest on the armrest such that the shoulders don’t feel any strain and are in a relaxed position, so adjust the armrest accordingly.
– Your knees need to be in the same line as your hips; your feet need to rest flat on the floor, if that’s not possible let it be supported on a footrest, adjust your seat height accordingly.
Prolonged use of the computer makes your eyes tired and can strain them. It can cause discomfort to the eyes in the form of burning, itching, dryness, blurred or double vision, eye fatigue and headaches. It is necessary to check the cause and try to rectify it.
– Use the right intensity of lighting. Let the screen be in level with your eye or slightly lower. Reduce the glare on the screen. If there’s a window or a source of light, position your screen so that it’s at a right angle to the source of light. This way you can avoid the light falling on your eyes as well as the glare on the screen.
– Adjust the brightness and contrast of your screen such that your eyes are comfortable with it. Distorted images or flickering also adds to the strain. Let the screen be around 18” to 24” away.
– Use bigger fonts so that you don’t have to strain while reading. If there’s some text which needs too much effort due to the colour used or the size, a better alternative would be to copy the text and increase the font size as per convenience.
– Computer usage demands that you stare at the illuminated screen throughout the day. So you need to give your eyes the well- deserved break at intervals. At least once in every half an hour, look away from the screen and focus on a distant object. Rubbing your palms and placing them over your closed eyes in a cup shape is also a good way to relax your eyes.
– While working, you tend to concentrate continuously on the screen and forget to blink. Blink enough to retain moisture and to prevent your eyes from drying.
Repetitive use of the mouse and the keyboard especially when you’re not careful with the ergonomics can result in disorder in the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. The muscles, nerves get affected and the tendons get inflamed due to overuse. This can happen in the form of loss of sensation, pain, swelling, tingling or numbness in the affected areas. RSI does not limit itself to just fingers, wrist and arms but can also affect the neck and the back.
– In order to avoid RSI, it is necessary to maintain the right posture.
– The keyboard and mouse should be positioned in such a way that there’s minimal strain on your wrist.
– Take frequent breaks with walking around as well as stretching involving arms, shoulders, neck and wrists to ease muscle tension.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a severe form of RSI involving the nerves in the wrist causing tingling and numbness of fingers. People may find it difficult to perform various chores due to a dip in the grip strength. Timely precaution and management is essential before it advances to a stage where the condition becomes chronic in nature.
Some computer professionals tend to spend hours at their desk, especially in high stress environments; you can hardly think about getting breaks. Even the lunch break tends to be short; munch and get back to work.
In such a scenario, getting time to move around, stretching or going for a walk to relax your muscles seems to be out of question.
Spending extra hours at your workplace makes you resort to binging on junk food. This trend has created health risks for those who lead a sedentary lifestyle, indulge in poor eating habits and are unable to find time to exercise.
Obesity, depression, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and even cancer seem to be on the rise for such professionals.
Lifestyle amendment is the only way out. A nutritious balanced diet, adequate physical activity including exercising regularly, reducing stress (give earlier link) and a good night’s sleep are essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent these diseases.
From the way it sounds, you might think Thrombosis affects only bosses. Incorrect!
Those sitting at their desks for extended an duration without being able to move or stretch their legs may have a risk of developing blood clots in the deep vein, the risk that frequent flyers sitting in crammed position for long hours in flights are exposed to.
The clots initially form in the leg and can break off and travel to vital organs like the lungs which can get really serious.
So the key lies in taking regular breaks, changing your working style, lifestyle modifications and making a conscious effort to maintain the right posture so that your long hours at your desk before the computer does not translate into future health issues for you.
Author Bio: Swati has worked in technical and managerial roles in the corporate world for over a decade. She now works as a freelancer and writes on a variety of topics including career guidance and self-improvement.