Useful tips for healthy life in the Digital World
Variety is the spice of life
Many of us are glued to the computer screens throughout the day, either checking for emails or chatting with friends or attending to the everyday office work. But the fact remains that the human body is not designed to face a PC non-stop for long hours. Our body demands variety. Repeating the same motion too many times (typing on the keyboard, moving wrist from one side to the other when on the mouse) leads to inflamed muscles and joint problems.
Take breaks in between and stretch yourself occasionally. Try taking a break every one hour. Simple things, like walking up to your colleague, rather than buzzing him/her on chat, is a viable option.
Keep those calories at bay
Today’s desk jobs have prompted a sedentary lifestyle, which has an adverse effect on our health. Research conducted suggests that sitting at a desk for six hours every day doubles the probability of being overweight. And obese people face higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and hypertension. And it certainly doesn’t give you that feel-good factor.
Ideally, you should be hitting the gym regularly but if you feel you are extremely pressed for time, seek physical exercise from household activities. Take your dog for a walk, take the stairs in your building, take a walk instead of jumping into a rickshaw for short distances, etc. Dieting can help but dieting without exercising is no good.
Why carry your work around?
A laptop enables you to ‘carry’ your work wherever you go, literally! A laptop can weigh anywhere from two to five kilos. However, that’s not it. There’s the charger, the adaptor, the bag in which it needs to be carried, etc. And before you even realise, your portable world isn’t so portable after all. The weight is extremely demanding for your shoulder and back. In fact, studies have also proved that injuries caused because of carrying heavy weights is the most underestimated of all possible injuries.
Okay, it’s not practical to junk that laptop after all. So, lift it slowly and carefully. Also, you can opt for a different backpack that distributes the weight evenly between the two shoulders, in case of which you are far less likely to injure yourself.
When we concentrate on the screen, we tend to blink a lot lesser than we normally would. Less blinking reduces the lubrication in the eyes. Your computer screen has automatic refresh intervals and while you may not realise it consciously, it does register with your eyes. And that’s the case with all monitors. Moreover, our eyes aren’t designed to concentrate on something which is at such a short distance. Studies show that our eyes perform best when looking at something 20 feet away or more. This results in added stress for your eyes.
For every hour that you spend on your computer, take a five-minute break. Look elsewhere and focus on something that’s far away. Also, make a conscious attempt to blink. Occasionally, eye drops of rose water will help.
The cause and effect in this case is similar to taking long-hour flights wherein people complain of blood clot formation in their legs which are often known to often move to the lungs. It can happen to computer users as well, albeit the chances are not that high. In 2003, a man was reported to have developed Deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) after sitting for 18 hours at his PC. That’s certainly a long stretch but not completely impossible.
Whenever you feel soreness or tightness in your legs, do some light exercises and get the blood flowing.
Why lose sleep?
A study conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Centre has proved that excessive hours spent at the computer can lead to insomnia. Simply because working on the computer at late hours interferes with the biological sleep clock. It also reduces the concentration of melatonin, which is essential for a good night’s sleep.
Make sure you don’t spend long hours in front of your computer before going off to sleep. If you are working on an important assignment that needs to be finished before you reach office tomorrow, it’s better to wake up early and have it completed.