Tips for taking care of yourself if you work in front of a computer
So here are a few tips that will remind you of the simple things you can do for your health if you work in front of the computer so that your work doesn’t hurt you.
Many people spend hours a day in front of a computer screen – whether it’s a desktop computer, a laptop, tablet or even a smartphone without thinking about the impact on their bodies. They physically stress their bodies daily without realizing it by extending their wrists, slouching, sitting without foot support and straining to look at poorly placed monitors.
These practices can lead to cumulative trauma disorders or repetitive stress injuries, which create a life-long impact on health. Symptoms may include pain, eye strain, muscle fatigue, loss of sensation, tingling and reduced performance.
Think about your average day: how many hours of it do you spend working at your computer? How often is computer work broken up with other tasks? Do you take the time for a lunch break away from your desk?
It is probably the simplest one of all. Yet, we forget about it all the time. What you need to do is get up from your desk every hour and do a little stretching for about 5 minutes. Do a few sit-ups, try touching the sky with your hands, try touching your toes with your fingers. Walk a bit. Don’t let your spine muscles tighten and your spine get sore. If you remember about these simple exercises, you will drastically improve your health in a few weeks.
And what is also important, it will be easier for you to concentrate, as these few minutes away from the screen will give your brain a “breather,” and consequently – some freshness. The good news is that, along with doing some simple stretches, making exercises at work environment can significantly reduce the daily discomfort most desk jockeys deal with. And the benefits go beyond the physical. Research found that exercising at the office not only reduced musculoskeletal and vision problems, but also boosted employees’ job satisfaction and happiness.
How many of you really take care of your back? I’m not talking about straightening your back every now and then – that won’t help you at all. Even if you’re sitting straight, but on a wrong type of a chair – this will not help your back. Here things get a little more complicated. First, you need a good chair that fully supports your back. Sitting straight with no back support will cause more pain than leaning on a badly constructed chair.
A good back support pushes the thoracic part of your spine, at the same time ensuring that every part of your back is supported. It is also important to get a chair with a high backrest, so you can fully lean on it (not only your back, but the head as well).
And what “safe distance” is? The further the better. You can work having a monitor on another end of a room if that works for you, as long as you can see what is on the screen. Also – don’t work with your screen directly opposite the sun or another source of light to avoid light reflections; these will hurt your eyes and may result in vision impairment.
Position yourself and your monitor in such a way to have a window to your side, and other sources of light arranged on the ceiling. There are studies shown that light emitted from computer screens may be disrupting sleep patterns, so try to minimize the time using a computer to as little as possible.
Pain in hands and wrists can happen when you type on keyboard and use a mouse. The good news is it can be easily avoided. One of the main reasons for the discomfort is putting your keyboard just at the edge of the desk, which means your wrists also have to lean on the edge or – what is even worse – remain suspended in the air.
Push your keyboard (or your laptop) away from the edge of the desk, so that your forearms could rest on the desk, and support your hands and wrist. Also, try not to put weight on your wrists and hands. This should eliminate the pain. You can do one more thing – while doing your hourly 5-minute exercise routine, work the hands as well.
It was proven that eating while working at a computer is both unhealthy (can cause digestive disorders) and a simple way to gain weight. So just go somewhere else to eat.
Oh, one more thing if eating away from your computer is that your computer will most likely cleaner and free from gunk, especially the keyboard which is an easy place for food to end up in there. This means less bacteria around and you don’t need to worry about cleaning your keyboard and computer all the time – try it and you will see!