Are you taking care of yourself?
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Thread: Are you taking care of yourself?

  1. #1
    Senior Member roswell1329's Avatar
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    Are you taking care of yourself?

    I just wanted to share some information to all the computer addicts at AO like myself. My health has recently started to go downhill even though I don't smoke, and I rarely ever drink. My knees hurt walking, my wrists hurt typing, my neck hurts (occasionally), I get winded walking up 2 flights of stairs, and I suffer from indigestion every night. I used to be quite active just a few years ago, but when computers became my occupation as well as my passion I discovered I had little time for anything else. Well, I did some research, and realized how much my "computer addict" lifestyle is affecting my health.

    How many of you spend some time each week keeping yourself fit or just taking care of your body? Guessing from the typical AO member, you probably spend 8 or more hours a day in front of a screen. Working with computers is wonderful, but it is also the source of many emerging aliments researchers have found. We've all heard about the physical disorders of repetitive stress injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome, but there is also computer vision syndrome (burning, dry, strained eyes), and lower back pain. The symptoms may even be more subtle than that. You may simply feel like your extremeties are often cramped or heavy. Researchers have even begun researching a growing list of mental symptoms related to computer use like lethargy, insomnia and anxiety (Source).

    Poor nutrition can also be the result of a heavy computer schedule, and may even aggravate some of the ailments listed above. More and more time online means taking less time to select foods that are more nutritious. I'm sure many of us have opted for a quick vending machine snack when working late rather than spending 10 minutes in the kitchen building a healthier snack. And how many of us think that two of the four basic food groups are pizza, and caffeine? How many of us remember the other two?

    Personally, my lifestyle has become very sedentary and my physiology is clearly beginning to reflect that. I never exercise, and my eating habits leave everything to be desired. However, I also know that when I am on a routine fitness program and eating healthy my energy levels are higher, I physically feel better, and my overall attitude becomes much more positive. Here are some health tips that I hopefully will be following myself this year to get back to that level of a healthy computer user. Maybe some of you could use them:

    * Check the ergonomics of your work area. If you're going to be there 10 hours a day, at least make sure that won't be causing your body additional, unnecessary, stress. OSHA has some great resources for making your workstation as ergo-friendly as possible.

    * Take regular breaks throughout the day. I know it's hard to tear yourself away when you're in the middle of a great game, or compiling some new package, but you'll feel better doing it. You may even want to do some basic stretching for your muscles' benefit. HealthyComputing has some quick stretches you can do at your desk, as does the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at East Carolina University.

    * For your eyes sake, try reducing the brightness of your monitor, or increasing the illumination of the room around you. Your office space should be 3 times brighter than your screen, and the characters on the screen should be 10 times brighter than the background (Source). Try to consciously blink a few more times or keep a bottle of Visine Tears nearby to keep your eyes from drying out.

    * Try exercising for 15-20 minutes 3 times a week. Your goal doesn't have to be to run the Boston Marathon in 2 months. You just want to maintain a slightly elevated heart rate for 20 minutes 3 times a week to keep your heart healthy. Any aerobic exercise will work: running, biking, raquetball, swimming, taebo, sex (it counts! woohoo!), etc.

    * Try to remember your basic nutrition. The national recommended food pyramid shows 6 food groups: breads & cereals, fruits, veggies, meats & proteins, milk & dairy, and fats and oils. You should be consuming 6-8 servings of breads & cereals, 2-4 servings of fruit, 3-5 servings of veggies, 2-3 servings of meat & protein, 2-3 servings of dairy, and only sparing servings of fat and oils. Just trade in that Big Kit-Kat for an apple once in a while.

    Keeping your body healthy will greatly improve your computer experience. You'll have less stress, and a more positive attitude, and less stress means better focus as well. Remember from the Matrix when Morpheus says "The body cannot live without the mind" ? Well that door swings both ways...your mind cannot live without your body. Keep it happy.
    /* You are not expected to understand this. */

  2. #2
    Thanks for sharing the information. I know that I'll be taking it into account, and I'll try to improve my lifestyle. (Although I'm bound to forget after about a week or so...)

  3. #3
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    It is the enivetable. One can try to be good in all areas,
    a robot that is built for all areas is not the best in each
    TechTV's European competition (i forgot the name). Anyways what i'm saying is that I try to be the best i can be at computers and at being heality is not good enough. I choose computers and i do strive to continue to be better and keep my health under control but it is a very very hard thing to do. Thanks for pointing this out again for me. It seems i need a constant reminder of this. Thank you once again, and i hope your health gets better.
    -Spyda

  4. #4
    Senior Member Spyrus's Avatar
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    I had this same problem about a 3 years ago when I first found out about IRC. Needless to say I spent endless hours at night and during the day playing with and on IRC. Learning all the inns and outs to it. Now Im not an overweight or unactive person but I finally figured out I needed to start working out again and got myself on a 4 day a week lifting schedule and a 2 hour cardiovascular exercise on the 5th day. I strongly recommend that everyone does keep up some form of a regimine and get up and away from the force that keeps calling us like an addiction. I know for me it seems that after being away from a computer for a couple hours you get the shakes and sweaty and you itch for one more dose just one more but the addiction will get worse and worse.

    just my thoughts on the same topic. Very nice of you to be looking out for the rest of us. Thanks Roswell
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  5. #5
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    i am required to do PT every morning and I go to the gym in the afternoons at night i relax with my computer, friends, tv ( and anything else) and during the day I work with various things including computers on the weeked i see my girlfriend as she works about an hour and a bit away...... this i have found is a great balance except obviously i would like to see my girlfriend a lot more

    i disagree with spydabyte i think you can take a little time each day out to excersize and stay healthy while still using and studying computers as much as you want( you will still learn enough and be just as good). you will be healthy and good at computing.. the fine balance is necessary. infact you will probably learn more each day if you have a break and come back feeling refreshed and ready to study etc. there is no better way to have a break than go for a walk or a jog then shower its perfect.

    ask yourself im still at my box because i am studying and cant afford the break or is it that you are just too lazy to get up?
    Just because you don\'t see it doesn\'t mean it\'s not there

  6. #6
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    That's a good point you raise. Computers are so addicting that it can becocme very easy to let the other parts of life (or what life has to offer) just sort of fade into the backgroud. Being involved in a project or trying to figure out a program requires a lot of concentration. It's just so darn fun that when you finally look up..... hours have passed by in what seems like just minutes.

    To keep myself healthy I go to the gym for two hours a day 5-6 days per week. I also run at least 3.5-7+ miles several times a week. That helps out with my pizza habit. I usually eat pizza 2-3 times a week.....sometimes 2-3 times a day. And the coffee....12 cups every morning!!

    I spend at least 12 hours a day on computers (little of it is surfing) and I can definitely say that physically, strange things have been happening. I had to get reading glasses (just for computing), I turned the brightness WAY down on my computers, increased the refresh rate, etc...but I still have really bad eye strain. Another thing I do is move to different locations to work....different chairs, tables, desks...even the floor. I guess that may help to keep my body from forming into the shape of a chair.

    I think you raised an interesting issue about insomnia.....I sleep with my laptop on one side of the bed because I'm usually looking at some code or reading something (checking on AO, too) way into the night. Often I wake up thinking I need to check the security settings on my computer or something like that....then by the time I do that I'm sort of awake again. This happens at least once a night.

    Hmmmmm...sounds like I'm an addict or something. Oh, well, there are worse things to be chained to.

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    your post was gorgeous!i think that it's a matter of programming.i mean that we have to put our lives down and say:"well i must sleep xx hours a day,i must work xx hours a day and the other xx hours i will do this and that.that's how i am trying to live.i work out every day for 2.5 hours and i also study and work.i strongly believe that everthing depends on your willingness to do it.if you really want to do something,then you will surely find the time to do it.

  8. #8
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    geez mathgirl32 you really need to look at your diet.. 12 cups of coffee is terrible for you haha and pizza well ..... we can all spare time for pizza
    Just because you don\'t see it doesn\'t mean it\'s not there

  9. #9
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    geez mathgirl32 you really need to look at your diet.. 12 cups of coffee is terrible for you haha and pizza well ..... we can all spare time for pizza
    Well....I would give up a lot before I would give up my coffee. I even have a geeky math coffee mug that I made myself!

    Actually I've never seen concrete uncontradicted proof that coffee is bad for your health . It may be bad for some people, but it just makes my brain work...I can't describe it beyond that, and I never drink it past noon (unless I'm at Starbuck's).

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  10. #10
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    well i think that coffee does the following to your health:

    1)it turns your teeth from white to yellow

    2)it harms your stomach especially when its empty

    3)it's addictive

    are these reasons enough for you to give up drinking coffee and start drinking milk or juice instead?

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