Working with computers may seem like the most laid-back and relaxed job. But it’s quite the contrary. Desk jobs take a toll on our bodies as we’re not designed to sit for prolonged hours at a time without taking any breaks.
There are several ways through which working with computers affects our health. One has to do with how we sit. Generally, most individuals tend to slouch or lean forward- a posture that causes significant neck, shoulder and back pain. Secondly, staring at bright screens leads to headaches and eye strain. But since a vast majority of us cannot do without these pieces of tech, here are a couple of health and safety tips when using computers.
Upgrade to Ergonomic Office Furniture
The back pain and muscle stiffness that you experience for days can be eliminated by simply investing in the right office furniture. In particular, you should look for the best computer chair for long hours. Such an office chair is uniquely designed so that it promotes the natural curvature of your spine.
What’s more, it has adjustable lower back support. This allows you to tilt the chair to the point you feel comfortable. Another attribute you’ll find in this chair is that it lets you sit with your feet flat on the floor. The benefit of this sitting position is that it keeps your pelvis balanced.
Incorporate Movement into Your Office Routine
Most health problems associated with computer use arise because of sitting down for too long. But did you know that you can still stay active even if you have a desk job?
For instance, you can take breaks every hour. During this period of rest, find any reason to move away from your desk. You can walk to your colleague’s station to consult them, go to the restroom or the break room and fill a glass of water for yourself.
Another way to add movement to your work life is to go out for lunch. Yes, there are tons of applications where you can order burgers and pizzas from. However, eating while you work doesn’t favor your health. Take advantage of your one hour break to walk out and grab lunch.
Apply the 20-20-20 Rule
As we already mentioned, looking at your computer for hours at a time can cause headaches and eye strain. To prevent both of these conditions, you should try the 20-20-20 rule.
Simply put; you should look away from your computer every 20 minutes. While at it, ensure you’re looking at something that is 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.
Does that mean that you should buy a tape measure, and carry it to the office every day? No, you don’t have to carry any rulers or tape measures. The range of 20 feet was given to show that you should look far away from your PC. For instance, if you’re sitting by a window, you can look at the lamppost that is across the street.
The 20-20-20 principle was actually invented by Californian optometrist Jeffrey Anshel. His aim was to encourage office workers to take breaks frequently.
Start Your Day Right
If you’re the kind of person who is always skipping breakfast, then you’re doing yourself a disservice. There’s a reason why your mom kept telling you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Multiple studies have proven that eating breakfast boosts your energy levels, which in turn, makes you feel better while working your desk job.
Still, you should be wary of the kind of food products you take in the morning. If you have doughnuts and coffee or a bowl full of sugary cereal, you’re just setting yourself up to experience more sugar cravings.
A nutrient-rich breakfast encompasses a serving of protein, high-quality grains and 1 to 2 fruits or veggies. These will make you feel satiated for much longer.
Don’t Forget to Exercise
Going out during your lunchbreaks and moving about is no substitute for proper exercise. In other words, you still need some form of physical exercise in your life. If you have a gym room or fitness center at your workplace, take advantage of these resources. And if they’re not available, then get a gym membership from your nearest gym center.
Besides, you can still exercise from your desk. Here are a few exercise recommendations:
For your neck and shoulders
Neck rotation: this involves rotating your head – towards the right or left directions- as far as you can.
Shoulder rotation: this one entails circling your shoulders, and then rotating them in the reverse direction
Head side to side: tilt your neck so that your left ear is close enough to your left shoulder. Repeat the same on your right ear and right shoulder. If you want to take this workout up a notch, try pressing your hand against the side of your head.
For your back
The shoulder squeeze: start by raising your arms in front of your body. Your elbows should be bent with your thumbs facing upward. Next, pull your elbows back then squeeze your shoulder blades together. Maintain this pose for a couple of seconds and then release.
For your arms
Arm relaxation: this one involves dropping your hands and arms to the sides. Then, shake them gently for a couple of seconds.
Arm rotation: raise your arms so that they’re right in front of you. Rotate your arms with your palms facing up and then rotate causing the back of your hands to face each other.
There is nothing wrong with spending a lot of time on your computer working. However, you should acknowledge the fact that doing such a job can affect your health negatively. This way, you’ll be able to take the right measures to guarantee your health and safety.
Making an effort to move around, taking frequent breaks, applying the 20-20-20 rile are some of the hacks you can employ to keep yourself healthy. You can also schedule fitness classes into your weekly routine and avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast.