5 Reasons Working With Computers Is Bad For You & How to Stay Healthy

Breaks08b   5 Reasons Working With Computers Is Bad For You & How to Stay HealthyWorking 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, 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:

Get Active At Work   5 Reasons Working With Computers Is Bad For You & How to Stay Healthy

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

  • Do everything recommended above to combat sitting-related health risks, especially taking frequent breaks and stretching.
  • Self-massage your back and neck.
  • Set up your monitor ergonomically; the top edge should be at eye level, the display should be at arms length from your face and angled slightly backward.
  • Get an ergonomic office chair or maybe an exercise ball to support and strengthen your lower back.
  • Work on a healthy sitting posture; apparently leaning back is actually best for your back.

Seating Positions   5 Reasons Working With Computers Is Bad For You & How to Stay Healthy

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, 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

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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, 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?

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33 Comments -

Geir-kristian M

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

Chris F

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

Abhilash Bari

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

Tika Maya Thapa

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

sam

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!

dragonmouth

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?

Meena B

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

Tina Sieber

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

Tina Sieber

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.

Onaje A

very timely and good info! Thanks a lot!

MrsG

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

Robert Perrett

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

Very cool. Thank you for sharing Robert!

frank abraham

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

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.

Keian K

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

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.

Ashbeel

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 !

Tony

“While sitting, you blood isn’t circulating….” Wow!! My heart stops working???

Tina Sieber

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!

Connie Abbott

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

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.

Parth B

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.

Des

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

Thanks for sharing this article, Des!

Stephanie S

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

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

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! :)

K.Vee.Shanker.

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

Very welcome!

Justin Pot

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

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. ;)

Sachin G

The activities are really relieving, thanks Tina