When it comes to the bad things we do for our health, working at a computer has to be one of the biggest culprits. Not only does working on the computer mean sitting pretty much in the same position for hours on end everyday but it also means sitting in a bad position that keeps us hunched over and with a generally bad posture. Our heart weakens because we’re not moving, our hip extensors shorten because they’re constantly compressed and our hip flexors become slack and inefficient. This can then lead to poor posture and gait, resulting in any number of other aches and pains.
What’s more, sitting at a computer all day means placing a strain on your eyes, it means giving yourself headaches and it means being in a constant state of stress. Finally, if you’re constantly at the computer working late, you’ll upset your natural rhythms by being exposed to harsh light when you should be starting to turn in.
So what can you do about all this? Thankfully there are some great remedies to a computer-bound lifestyle. Here we’ll look at the best.
The first and most important tip is simply to exercise. Lots. Specifically you need to be doing intensive cardio exercise that will get your heart really working and that will act as a counterpoint to all that time you’re spending just lying around. Go for long runs or better yet, try a swim which won’t place too much of a strain on your joints.
As well as swimming or running occasionally though, you also need to ensure that you are generally active. In other words, it’s not good enough to be generally sedentary and then just have a few minutes of intense activity – for the real benefits you need to be active throughout the day and that means trying to get at least 10,000 steps for instance.
Starting to wear a pedometer is a good idea then as this can give you some indication as to how much exercise you’re getting. At the same time, make sure that you work opportunities to be active into your routine. Get off the bus early and walk the last few stops!
Remember how we said you could shorten and tighten some leg muscles by sitting too long? Then there’s the fact that you’re looking downwards at your computer all day… the best remedy is to stretch regularly. You don’t need to do this before you workout, just do it occasionally – try joining a yoga class for instance!
Swimming and aquafit are also very good for this, as they help you to stretch your ankles and heels which can prevent full range of motion otherwise. If you can’t do a full squat, then you need more swimming in your life!
Wear Blue-Blocking Shades
If you’re worried about your sleep cycles when you use the computer in the evening, consider throwing on a pair of blue blocking shades. These work by blocking out the light at the brightest end of the spectrum, telling your brain it’s nighttime and stimulating the production of melatonin rather than the cortisol that wakes you up.
Another important tip is to just take some time out away from the computer every now and then. If you spend all day staring at the computer, then you’ll likely be stressed by constant notifications and things. A great way to get your health back to where it should be is to take a few days to detox from technology. So when you next go on holiday – don’t take your computer. Leave it at home and while you’re at it stop answering your phone too. This way you can get the time out that your brain really needs and when you get back you’ll be able to function much more efficiently!