It is interesting to note that most programmers are more concerned about plugging away with writing lines of code than they are about their health.
I think lots of programmers do not prioritise their health as much as they should do. As professionals, it is pertinent to note that the physical well being of a person is just as important as the mental well being.
This is why I have put together a list of different ways in which programmers like you and I can keep ourselves healthy.
Fluid is very much essential to staying alive. A key element to staying hydrated is water. In fact, the total amount of water in our body averages at 60% of our body weight.
Dangers Of Not Staying Hydrated.
- Muscle Cramps.
- Constant Headache and lightheadedness.
- Sleepiness and a lack of tear production, which can lead to eye strain & vision problems.
- Decreased urine output.
- Kidney Stones(In the long run).
- Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning.
- Get a reusable water bottle on your desk and drink a full bottle of water before lunch and another full bottle before the day ends.
- Increase your intake of spicy food. This naturally leads to increased intake of water.
2). Take Periodic Breaks
Taking a short break away from the computer is quite important and should not be ignored. Yes there is always a possibility of impending deadlines, developing a plan to handle complex tasks and also seeking for help when necessary could help prevent staying long stretch of hours on a given task.
Dangers Of Not Taking Breaks.
- Limited blood flow to parts of the body such as the lungs.
- Increased risk of high blood pressure.
- Increased chance of bad body posture.
- Body Aches.
- Take at least a 5 minutes break every hour. There are apps that you could use that serve as friendly reminders. Awareness is one of them.
- Stand up to get lunch.
- Staying hydrated. This will naturally lead to toilet breaks.
3). Avoid Developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that causes pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and arm. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs due to a pinched nerve at the wrist, called the median nerve. There are studies that suggest computer related work can lead to this syndrome. The syndrome can occur from the constant use of a keyboard or a mouse.
Possible Ways To Develop CTS.
- Incorrect positioning of the hands when using the keyboard.
- Wrong grip of the mouse.
- Spending long hours a day(at least 12 hours) consistently, increases the chance of developing CTS
- Bent wrist while sleeping or driving.
- Maintain the wrist and hand in a neutral position while using the mouse or keyboard.
- Always remember to take a break.
- Make use of an ergonomic keyboard and an ergonomic mouse could help reduce fatigue and pain in the hand.
- Doing a Median nerve gliding exercise
4). Caffeine Addiction
There is a quote that says A Developer is an organism that turns coffee into code. Caffeine is a natural stimulant most commonly found in coffee, tea and energy drinks. It works by stimulating the brain and central nervous system, thereby helping you to stay alert and preventing the onset of tiredness. If taken in moderate amount, it can be highly effective and increase the level of focus and productivity.
Due to the extra energy it provides, this makes it easy for programmers to get addicted to drinking too much Caffeine. This however defeats the effectiveness of the stimulant as the body could adapt to it and then it becomes no longer effective.
Dangers Of Being Addicted To Caffeine.
- Irregular sleeping pattern and limited sleep time
- Restlessness and anxiety.
- It may promote migraines and high blood pressure.
- Limit your intake of coffee to 2–4 cups of coffee per day(400 mg).
- Keep a bottle of water close to your desk.
- Limit your intake of soft drinks and energy drinks.
5). Watch Out For Back & Neck Pain
The nature of the job of a programmer involves sitting in front of a computer system for a long stretch of time. Sitting for long period of hours is a major cause of both back and neck pain. Overtime, this pain could make you uncomfortable anytime you sit in front of a computer to work,leading to a decrease in the level of productivity.
Symptoms of Back & Neck Pain.
- Numbness of the leg or tingling above or below your knee.
- Continuous aching in the middle or lower part of your back, especially after standing or sitting for an extended period.
- Sharp shooting pains or a dull aches in your neck.
- Shoulder pain.
- Rising up from the bed become difficult or impossible.
- Numbness in the arm.
- Sharp, shooting pain that radiates from your low back to your buttocks, down the back of your thigh, and into your calf and toes.
- Sharp pain in your lower back.
- Performing Aerobic exercises, this helps with overall fitness and strength.
- Stretching at regular intervals.
- Ensure to have enough Vitamin D and calcium in your diet.
- Use prevention strategies to keep yourself healthy and injury-free, by creating an ergonomic environment.
6). Develop A Stress Management Technique To Manage Computer Stress
Computer stress is a feeling of anxiety and nervousness experienced by an individual when their computers work in a different way than expected. For programmers this is a constant occurrence, because the code you write will most likely not work correctly at the first attempt. This can lead to serious health problems and a decrease in productivity.
Situations That Can Lead To Computer Stress
- Slow Internet connection leading to frustration.
- Working constantly for unreasonable long hours.
- Poor project management technique.
- An Unhealthy working environment.
- Performing regular exercise.
- Good internet access.
- Getting enough sleep and rest.
- Reduce screen brightness which could lead to eye strain.
7). Develop a Healthy Diet
There is a popular adage that says You Are What You Eat. Creating a good healthy pattern is one best decision a programmer can make. A healthy diet makes your body function at its’ peak, which leads to having a healthy brain, leading to improved productivity. It is pertinent for a coder to show a strong interest in nutrition and a healthy diet.
Disadvantages Of Having An Unhealthy Diet.
- Increased chance of gaining extra weight(obesity) due to spending a long time on the computer eating junks.
- Increased chance of getting certain illnesses and other health related problems such as tooth decay and high blood pressure.
- A High chance of reduction in level of productivity.
- An unhealthy diet can contribute to stress.
- Pass up the chance of junk food and alcohol as much as you can because they’re not good for your brain function.
- Include fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Intake of high quality supplements like fish oil, vitamin D, vitamin C.
- Staying hydrated.
- You can also adopt a ketogenic diet.
It is worthy to note that things like healthy food, exercise, movement, hydration & stress management are critical to all animals — not only humans. You may not see the effect of not taking good care of your body now, but what happens 5 to 10 years from now when your body eventually takes a toll due to years of neglect?
Prioritizing your health improves the overall quality of your life, both now and in the future.
Please drop a comment and add to the list on what programmers can do to improve their health, as I believe this topic is not discussed enough. Thanks.
That was it for this article. If you found it helpful, consider checking out our blog Daily Social News!