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computers bad for healthWorking on the computer may sound like the most relaxed job in the world, but it’s quite the contrary. It’s very tough on your body, which is not used to this modern type of work.

Sitting has long been known to cause back pain and negatively influence circulation, which can promote cardiovascular disease. Extensive use of the keyboard and mouse can lead to stiffening of the muscles in your hands, arms, and neck, as well as inflammation and injuries. Staring at a bright screen for too long can cause dry eyes and headaches. Finally, computer work can be stressful, isolating, and lead to depression and anxiety. In other words, working on the computer is as unhealthy a job as you can imagine.

Let me show you what exactly the culprits are and how you can avoid and fix them.

Sitting Kills You

Whether you do in front of the computer, the TV, or while reading a book, sitting for long stretches of time is a very serious health risk! Sitting affects your blood circulation, your back experiences a steady stress, you are more likely to drink and eat stuff that isn’t good for you, and you burn very little calories, making it more likely that you overeat. As a result, sitting contributes to a host of conditions 4 Serious Health Issues From Sitting Too Long & How To Avoid Them 4 Serious Health Issues From Sitting Too Long & How To Avoid Them When you work at any job that requires long hours sitting at a computer - programming, accounting, writing - it is very easy to stay in that one position for eight to nine working hours... Read More , most notably gaining weight, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and consequently a shortened life span.

Remedies

Sitting is perfectly good and normal. It’s just when you do it excessively that it turns into a major health risk. So try to loosen it up and play with alternatives. Here is a list of things you should do:

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computers bad for health

Bad Posture Causes Pain

Bad posture is not necessarily a consequence of sitting. You can develop bad posture from anything you do habitually, whether it’s sitting, standing, or walking. Your daily activities have an impact on your body and shape your muscles; they either tighten or become weak. The typical consequences associated with bad posture while working on the computer are pain in the back, shoulder, and neck, often resulting in tension headaches.

Remedies

computer bad for your health

Repetitive Movements Cause Injuries

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is caused by continual physical movements that damage tendons, nerves, muscles, and other soft body tissues. This is actually a severe form of bad posture that most frequently affects the hands and leads to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Remedies

  • As above, take frequent breaks and stretch.
  • Adjust your posture to reduce strain on your wrists.
  • Consciously keep your hands and arms relaxed.
  • Use very little force when you use the mouse or keyboard.
  • Make sure your hands are warm.

Staring At The Screen Causes Eye Strain

Staring at a bright screen for hours can lead to eye fatigue or eye strain 4 Ways To Prevent Computer-Related Eye Strain Without Losing Productivity 4 Ways To Prevent Computer-Related Eye Strain Without Losing Productivity Do you spend many hours in front of a computer screen? If you do, you’re probably familiar with the inescapable eye strain that comes with it. Headaches, burning eyes, itchiness and just being tired, are... Read More , headaches, blurred vision, burning, itching or tearing eyes, and temporary vision disorders. Fortunately, eye strain rarely results in a permanent condition and symptoms can be prevented or cured rather easily.

Remedies

computers bad for health

Emotional Pressure & Isolation Cause Anxiety & Depression

Computers are very efficient tools in that they help us with getting more work done in less time. At the same time, you spend less face-to-face time with your colleagues, family, or friends. This can lead to isolation, anxiety, and depression 7 Online Resources To Help Those Who Are Depressed & Suicidal 7 Online Resources To Help Those Who Are Depressed & Suicidal Even though I am the Managing Editor of MakeUseOf, I have a huge disability in my life which is clinical depression. It started back in 2002, as a depression related to stress in my job,... Read More , i.e. both physical and mental health issues. The symptoms are manifold and can include tense muscles, back pain, headaches, poor sleep (insomnia), increased or flat breathing, quickened pulse, and generally signs of stress, depression, or anxiety.

Remedies

  • Breathe consciously.
  • In addition to stretching, go for a brisk walk or run up and down the stairs to work off stress levels.
  • During your frequent breaks, seek out social interactions.
  • Have meals with colleagues or friends.
  • Don’t forget to drink lots of water.
  • Plan for social activities after work.
  • Meditate before or after work.
  • Exercise before or after work.

Conclusion

Are computers bad for health? Too much of anything is bad for you. Working with a computer for hours on end day in day out is very straining for your body and can cause very serious health issues. Fortunately, you can avoid pain and misery with only a few simple routines. The key changes are to take frequent short breaks, get up to walk and stretch at least once an hour, actively relax, interact with other people, and especially if you have a lot of stress, remember that you must exercise to stay healthy.

How do you stay healthy while spending hours a day on the computer?

  1. JenChef
    July 30, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    REX.. You're way off. I just treated a person with DVT as a direct result of sitting way too much at a computer and not staying in motion with proper exercise. Not only is the article 100% accurate, more and more people are dying from having a do-nothing attitude. The fact is, the human body is meant to be in motion. When it is not in motion it begins to shut down and act against itself.

    Also, sitting at a 90 degree angle is NOT the proper way for your body to sit for an entire day. Think about the angle and think about all the things that are being cut-off by this angle.

    The short rule is simple - To stay healthy (assuming you're eating properly and all other things are equal) for every 1.5 hours you sit you need to do at least 10 minutes of motion. That doesn't include going to the bathroom.

    The longer you stay in denial and do nothing about motionless stagnation of your body - the quicker your body will turn on you.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 31, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      Thank you for sharing your insights, Jen!

      I just read a study that concluded that one hour a day of moderate physical activity (e.g. walking at 3.5 km an hour, which isn't very fast) is sufficient to balance a day spent sitting. Here's the link.

      In other words, walking or biking to work or going for a walk during lunch break could be all that is needed to make a difference. It's certainly not enough to become fit, but it's a start.

  2. REX
    June 28, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    I'm sorry, but most of this article is utter rubbish. I don't mean to insult you or your writing
    (as it is very well written), but mos of the content provided here is incorrect.

    I am an IT student. When I graduate in a few months, I will be searching for jobs in my field. A network administrator or database administrator spends most of their time in front of their computer screen.The same is true for financial advisers; and I know because my grandfather who is 75 is in perfect health and has been doing his job for well over 30 years.

    I would like to say that what you've written is not your fault. There is plenty of MISINFORMATION on the internet, and MISCONCEPTIONS - based on INCOMPLETE STUDIES. As such, just because 1 + 1 equals 2 does not mean that 1 and 1 give you two. They missed the plus sign. The scientists or academics who founded this data forgot the plus sign: They missed or left out RELEVANT FACTORS, and did not take all of the considerations necessary to reach a proper conclusion.

    HERE IS WHY "SITTING" IS ACTUALLY BAD FOR YOU - and what kind of sitting.

    Sitting improperly (not at 90 degrees) at a desk (hunching or becoming the hunchback of notre dame), sitting on a comfy leather sofa and sinking right in (no spinal support), and bending your back because of it. Even walking with improper posture is obviously bad for you.

    I do agree that improper posture, overtime, can be absolutely detrimental to one’s health, vitality, and well being – as our spines and their physical condition are salient to the function of our nervous system, cardiovascular system, and brain. With a bent or unshapely spine, anyone could be in serious trouble. This is why we have chiropractors.

    Your GET ACTIVE AT WORK is correct no doubt, but SEATING POSITIONS are wrong. Sitting at 135 degrees is very bad for your lower spine. “Starting at the screen Causes Eye Strain” is correct, because we’re talking about bright screens – not dim screens.

    Overall, I do like your writing style but would like to point you in the right direction:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3269638/Couch-potatoes-rejoyce-Sitting-long-periods-NOT-bad-health-study-claim.html

    And although we burn few calories while sitting, it’s not bad for us! It's being sedentary for too long and a crappy diet which are really the culprits of those symptoms you heard about!

    Good day,

    REX

  3. Abbie Wilson
    March 14, 2016 at 11:47 am

    im in school and have a computer and not allowed to move what should I do ????

  4. jakub
    February 18, 2016 at 11:38 am

    PHAAAHAHA SITTING KILLS YOU?!?!!? AHAHAHAHAH

    • Doctor
      March 21, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      Lmao you'll be laughing harder when deep vein thrombosis hits you, look it up <3

  5. jakub
    February 18, 2016 at 11:37 am

    This is stupid DONT LISTEN TO THIS STUPID GUY

    • Grant Armitage
      June 2, 2016 at 5:13 am

      It's true, stop being foolish.

  6. Robert
    December 30, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Thanks for the article!

  7. Sachin G
    August 31, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    The activities are really relieving, thanks Tina

  8. Justin Pot
    July 9, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Wanted to say I loved this piece, Tina. Great reminder for me to get up every half hour or so and walk around.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 9, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      Try to jump around the apartment. I read somewhere it also lifts the mood. And how could acting like a 3 year old not make you happier. ;)

  9. K.Vee.Shanker.
    July 8, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Everyone believes that others' life is easy and comfortable! Next to Acting in Films and Modelling, IT field is supposed to be glamorous! No one as usual, including the computer workers, realise the physical hazards of sitting with a computer all the time. Tina has summed up it all and that should surprise even the diehard nerds.

    Thanks for your unusual observation Tina!

    • Tina Sieber
      July 9, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Very welcome!

  10. Stephanie S
    July 8, 2013 at 6:55 am

    Yep, as much as we love them, we have to learn moderation. I have been keyboarding most of my adult life: first the typewriter, then the word processor and finally the computer. I am a victim of repetitive wrist actions and about 8 years ago, found out I had carpal tunnel syndrome and worse, I have muscle atrophy in both hands. I had surgery on my left wrist and, frankly, couldn't tell a bit of difference. I had to quit working (I was a legal secretary and did a LOT of typing). I was ready to quit but did some part-time stuff at home. I finally got to the point of not being able to do that coupled with chronic back pain it just wasn't worth the hurt. :) So mind this post, you younger folks - it really does mean a difference not only physically but emotionally.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 9, 2013 at 11:49 am

      Thanks for sharing your story, Stephanie. I hope you are doing OK!

      You easily forget what you're doing to your body when you get used to daily routines. So even though I wrote this article, your comment was another reminder to be a little more careful. Thank you! :)

    • Stephanie S
      July 11, 2013 at 5:34 am

      Thanks, Tina, for your kind concern. Yes, I am okay. I have learned to pace myself, finally! You know when you are in the middle of an article or project? I used to push it just too far and I didn't do myself any favors. Even when you don't want to get up, DO IT ANYWAY! :)

  11. Des
    July 7, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Excellent article, and very timely. My wife complains frequently of too much time in front of a computer at her work. Eye strain and fatigue. I'll pass this article on to her, and she can share it with her colleagues. I like the graphic in your article, too.
    Late last year I wrote a post "Stand up to work" where I exposed similar health issues about the sedentary nature of sitting too long in front of a computer screen.
    http://newtimeshomebiz.com/nthb-blog/work-life-and-yourself/stand-up-to-work.html
    This article references a couple of very interesting studies about sedentary behaviour and cardio-vascular disease, diabetes etc.
    We should all take heed of health risks and our computer "life".

    • Tina Sieber
      July 9, 2013 at 11:42 am

      Thanks for sharing this article, Des!

  12. Parth B
    July 5, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    I am not sure about that sitting position.

    Might I add, if you are not eating your food right now, then please go and check the disease " Pilonidal Sinus"

    You get it because of bad posture and excessive computer sittings, etc.

    And from my research there, the 135 degree sitting thing ain't gonna work guys!.

    Though rest was good.

  13. Connie Abbott
    July 5, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    The other night we went to the Emergency Room at our hospital, and I noticed that the medical staff was fit because they had to be up and walking; but the all the people who checked patients in were very overweight, because they tended to sit for long periods of time. The difference was notable and confirmed what you were saying in your article. Seems that they could at least alternate some desks where they sit and some where they stand, and take turns at different ones to increase movement. Interesting that a health care provider wouldn't notice and take steps to improve this issue.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 9, 2013 at 11:44 am

      Interesting observation, Connie. Maybe they have noticed, but haven't had the time or means to do anything about it. Sometimes it's just lacking someone to start. Unfortunately, systems are like that. There are so many things we are aware of, yet nothing is done because no one feels responsible and there is no leadership.

  14. Tony
    July 5, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    "While sitting, you blood isn't circulating...." Wow!! My heart stops working???

    • Tina Sieber
      July 5, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      Yeah, that doesn't sound right. Circulation is affected though. I said it better in the introduction. I fixed the wording. Thanks for pointing it out, Tony!

  15. Ashbeel
    July 5, 2013 at 6:50 am

    this was really helpful info. I've been working as an IT professional since 2009, i wish i had this info that time, past three and half years have turned me in something really ugly and fat..... but its good to have this info. hope my health will be improved now..... keep it up guys !

  16. Keian K
    July 4, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    I am no stranger to computer / sitting related "injuries" and have battled them for about 5 years now. One of the tricks I have found during that time is yoga. I always did a lot of stretching and exercising before that, but yoga took it to a whole other level. Furthermore, if you have a nagging stiff muscle (like your lats or rotator cuff), rolling them out on a foam roller is awesome. If that does not do it for you, I have found that a racquetball or a lacrosse ball hits the spot. Thanks for the article, I always enjoy and benefit from reading about different ideas on how to deal with this issue.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 4, 2013 at 11:06 pm

      Great points, thank you for sharing, Keian! Yoga is so neat because there are exercises that can be practice by all ages and fitness levels.

  17. frank abraham
    July 4, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    in regard to eye strain ...... after spending hours staring at a monitor I noticed everything I see goes pitchy black when I turn off the computer and shut the room lights off.

    these monitors do something to the cones and rods in your eyes.

    I plan to invest in a small projector.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 4, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      Let us know whether you see improvement with the projector. Just keep in mind that projectors tend to cause a lot of noise, so that might be bad in other ways.

  18. Robert Perrett
    July 4, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    I developed the computer desk of treadmill D-DOT at which I typed 74 words per minute, while walking on a 2% incline at 3.5 miles per hour. That's just one to the many things I can do while working with the computer. Check it out on http://www.robertperrett.com

    • Tina Sieber
      July 4, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      Very cool. Thank you for sharing Robert!

  19. MrsG
    July 4, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    One of the best articles I have read on "best computer behavior". Thanks!

  20. Onaje A
    July 4, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    very timely and good info! Thanks a lot!

  21. Meena B
    July 4, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    you forgot to mension
    http://justgetflux.com/
    it's really good for the eyes

    • Tina Sieber
      July 4, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      You're totally right. How could I forget about Flux? I do know it. Thanks for mentioning it!

    • Tina Sieber
      July 5, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      Ha, I just went in to amend the article and I actually did include f.lux. It's in the list of remedies for eye strain.

  22. dragonmouth
    July 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Let's not forget that all this also applies to the electronic gadgets we constatntly use (smart phones, Gameboys, etc.) How many people have problems with their fingers from incessant texting?

  23. sam
    July 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I find I naturally do a lot of these, I'm always stretching (it feels good) laying back in my chairand going a regular walkabout just to stretch my legs!

  24. Tika Maya Thapa
    July 4, 2013 at 4:36 am

    Thank-you for giving tips . It really needed in my life .

  25. Abhilash Bari
    July 4, 2013 at 3:50 am

    As a programmar...it's most needed thing to live a life painlessly....

  26. Chris F
    July 4, 2013 at 1:02 am

    Great Article!! Although, your title's grammar is affecting my OCD.

  27. Geir-kristian M
    July 3, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Great article! Definitely going to try some of the activities.

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