It is not uncommon for many people to spend hours each day on a computer. Surveys have found that the average adult spends a staggering seven to eight hours in front of a screen daily, with many of those hours spent at a computer. Unfortunately, all that computer time can put your health at risk.
Many people suffer from back pain after spending prolonged time at a computer. Most of the time, bad posture causes the pain. Next time you are at your workstation, make sure that your shoulders are squarely in line with your hips, and that your upper arms are relaxed. Pain can also be due to lack of movement. Take a quick stretch break whenever your muscles feel tense. Bring your shoulders up to your ears, hold that position a few seconds, and then release. If you can, you should also try to stand up and stretch out your arms.
After too long in front of a screen, eyes can go dry, red, and sore. Vision can also turn blurry temporarily and headaches might start up. Though it is easy to get wrapped up in a project, it is essential to break away from the glare of the screen every thirty minutes or so. Focus your attention on a spot in the distance. If you are near a window, look outside for a few seconds. Frequent breaks play a crucial role in preventing uncomfortable symptoms that come with hours of uninterrupted screen time.
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Environmental groups have released studies that show some computers, especially older models, emit toxic chemicals in the form of dust. About 40 years ago, companies started to use flame retardants on their electronic products. Even today, traces of these chemicals can be found on a number of processors and monitors. Scientists are just now beginning to explore the health ramifications of these toxins for humans, though there is considerable proof that these chemicals cause neurological disorders in rats. The results are probably not conclusive enough to make you promptly throw your existing computer away, but they do give a good reason to shop around for products lacking those toxins next time you make a purchase.
If you are sitting still in front of computer for hours at a time, day after day, your blood will not circulate as effectively as it should. Signs of poor circulation can include cold hands and feet, leg fatigue, swollen feet, and severe cramping. Help offset time in front of the computer with regular exercise. If regular exercise is not an option, shop around for leg and feet massagers that boost circulation. You can also try consuming herbs like ginkgo and periwinkle. Some studies have linked them to increased blood circulation.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include pain, tingling, or numbness in the hands. Sometimes the pain spreads up the arm, making it difficult to grab and lift ordinary objects. The cause of this disease is still up for dispute. Some researchers are less convinced than others that extended time tapping at a keyboard can trigger this painful illness. However, many physicians suggest that people who spend a lot of time working at computer set up their workstation to avoid any potential nerve related discomforts. Your wrists should be straight while typing and your elbows positioned at a comfortable ninety degree angle. It is also wise to take frequent short breaks to stretch your wrists.
For most people, extended time at a computer is unavoidable. Computers play a vital role at work, school, and home. However, all of those hours can lead to a number of painful, sometimes even debilitating, symptoms. Take steps to prevent these five common computer related health issues and you can enjoy time on the computer without having to sacrifice your health.