How to take care of your Health as a Developer
8 min read
I am suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome 🥴 🖥️ at the time of writing this article, I already suffered from chest pain last year. Migraine pains were frequent, all because I was ignorant about my health. And now as I am serious about it, I feel the need of sharing this information that I got from my doctor and authentic sources online.
Dangers of Sedentary Lifestyle
🔴 A sedentary lifestyle is extremely dangerous. Anything you do, office work, gaming, programming, online class, etc. which involves long hours of sitting, can damage physical and mental health.
In the beginning, we work too much because we have energy and good health, but as time passes, many problems start to arise 📉 which results in pain, wastage of time and money, and even disease. Research conducted over several years has been telling us the effects of prolonged sitting and inactivity, but we still ignore them.
We are just lazy enough to prevent giving time to health, but not the suffering we get destined to because of it, how stupid we are! 🙃
“ Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and unhealthy cholesterol levels — that make up metabolic syndrome. Too much sitting overall and prolonged periods of sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. “ - Mayo Clinic
😕 But what can we do Prakhar? We cannot leave our jobs, and desktop computers are now an irreplaceable entity in our world, we cannot get rid of them permanently.
I also asked this question from myself, and therefore I researched everything that could keep me healthy even if I sit for long hours. And believe me, it is possible!
🔖 You should save this article and treat it like a health manual if sitting on computers is a part of your daily routine.
The whole discussion is divided into three topics →
- Physical Activity
And at the end, we will know some common solutions for multiple problems.
1. Eyes 👁️
Eyes, you see from them, you know how important they are, so taking care of them is very important.
Here is the curated list of almost every problem and its solution →
Dry Eyes 😵💫
When you look at a screen, you blink a LOT less which leads to dry eyes, redness, and itching in the eyes. The normal rate of blinking is about 10-20 times per minute (it varies) but when we are focused on our screen, it comes down to about 2-8 blinks per minute.
Blink consciously every 3-5 seconds, in starting it may be difficult, but be consistent and make a habit. And don’t be ignorant, being mindful of yourself prevents most of the problems. (One more good habit is discussed in Common Solutions)
Also, keep your monitor approx. 30 degrees down from your eye level, you should be looking at the screen slightly downwards.
Keep in mind not to keep it too low as it will result in the neck being bent down a lot, which is again dangerous.
If the screen is above your eye level, more areas of your eyes will be exposed to air, leading to dryness in your eyes quickly.
Prevent any air from blowing directly on your eyes. Use Anti-Glare monitors and prevent any light from reflecting on your screen as it may make it difficult to read.
Fixed Focus 🥸
When we see the screen, our lenses are focused on a fixed distance for a long time, this can lead to a lot of problems related to the eyes. (Solution Discussed in Common Solutions)
Find a comfortable distance from the eyes to the screen, and keep your monitor that far away. It is usually about 1 foot for laptops and 1.5 feet for desktop computers (due to the difference in screen size). You should be able to read the text easily without bending toward the screen.
Affect on Sleep 😪
Blue Light! It comes from your screens but it doesn’t affect you in the day time, because there is a hell lot of blue light coming from the sky than your computer screen, but, studies have shown it blocks a hormone called melatonin that makes you sleepy, which leads to sleep problems.
And NO, you don’t need any kind of computer or blue light filter glasses whatsoever, don’t get into that trap, unless you are fond of making a habit of wearing glass or spending money unnecessarily. Devices nowadays have the feature to reduce blue light built-in.
Use the Blue Light filter or Night Light feature in your devices when it gets dark, and kindly stay away from screens for at least an hour or a half before sleeping for good quality sleep.
You can lower the brightness and use dark mode in dark to prevent eye strains.
- Prevent using computers excessively at night or in dark.
2. Posture 🧑🦼
I think that most of us who work on computers for a long time tend to sit in comfortable and weird postures (Comment down if you too sit like this often)
This is a very common habit of long-time computer users. But this is a disastrous habit and can
lead to many painful and long-term health issues. Here are some tips to prevent them →
- Don’t slouch while sitting.
- Buy an ergonomic computer chair, and have the correct sitting posture.
(More things covered in Common Solutions)
I am not telling you everything you need to know, instead, I have shared these really good and authentic resources from where you can learn about body postures:
- Posture Manual by Olivier Girard 📔 (An Ebook)
- Office ergonomics - secrets to improve your working (A YouTube Playlist)
- Bob & Brad (A YouTube Channel)
I am not linking any short videos that you will find on YouTube, they are very small and don’t go deep into the science of posture. You need to understand the problems completely.
Prevent watching short informative videos as they may give you the feeling of knowing enough, but you actually aren’t learning much. That’s why research thoroughly from authentic sources as it is about your health.
3. Physical Activity 🏃🏽♀️
All the habits told above will reduce the risk of health issues, but this isn’t enough!
If you think skipping workouts and following these things can keep you healthy lifetime, you are absolutely wrong!
Please understand, our body is not meant for long-time sitting, and this becomes more dangerous when we have a bad lifestyle.
- “As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight, maintain weight loss, or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more” - Mayo Clinic
- “ Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both preferably spread throughout the week. ” - Heart.org
The ideal workout duration can vary significantly depending on the person, their goals, their preferences, and the exercise type.
For weightlifting and bodyweight strength training, 45–60 minutes per session may suffice.
Meanwhile, cardiovascular and calisthenic training may be better if performed for 30–60 minutes. - Healthline
Read about the benefits of aerobic exercise here
You should give time to your health every day anyhow!
Some days, if you don’t have much time, do it for 5-10 mins. Consistency is important for making good long-lasting habits.
Common Solutions 🌷
Taking Breaks ⏲️
Take breaks every 20-30 mins. You can use any app to remind you of breaks. I personally used Strechly when I was on Windows, it is a great app for this purpose. On Linux, I use Safe Eyes, same concept, just some UI changes, and more features.
One thing I want you to remember is, Never skip breaks, if you start skipping them it will become a habit of yours and your mind will be programmed to click on the skip button, and it is very dangerous for you. You can use the strict mode to remove the skipping break option if you want.
Little Exercises 🧎🏽♂️
- Exercising your body muscles and Eye muscles during breaks will drastically impact your health in a positive way. You are basically breaking the chain of prolonged sitting hours which prevents a lot of health issues. Body muscles can be stretched a bit, you can take a walk, drink water or do any other activity.
- You can follow the 20-20-20 Rule, which says, to take a break every 20 minutes, and focus your eyes on something that is about 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. Eye muscles can be squeezed, eyeballs can be moved in clockwise and anti-clockwise motions, to relax them and prevent any vision issues or other eye problems.
Regular Workouts 🚴🏽♂️
A regular health routine is mandatory to have a healthy and happy life. Apply your methods to make that habit, there is no tip that works for everyone, making a habit is purely upon you. You can read Atomic Habits by James Clear, it is a great book to learn about habits.
Final Message ✨
I want to share my personal experience, when I started being aware of myself and gave time to my health, my mental health, productivity, and energy got a Big Boost!
Exercise is really magical, it can suddenly convert your sad mood into a positive one. You can also try jumping during the breaks (not after having food), it helps a lot.
Stop being lazy, make consistent efforts and you will become a better person, and achieve what you aim for.
I hope this article helped you 😇
Thanks for reading my hard work ❤️