Healthy programmer - happy programmer
We have to work very hard: harmful bosses (not all), tight deadlines, brainstorming, solving a variety of problems, and, above all, working late until the end affects health. All of the above circumstances lead to depression, smoking, "seizing" stress - in a word, spoil health.
And ultimately our life depends on health - and this is the main reason to do something about it. The second most important reason is that a career depends on it. Often, developers complain that their back hurts - sometimes so badly that they cannot sit at the table. Many people have problems with their wrists due to the constant use of the keyboard and mouse. All of this can make work unpleasant, and in the worst case, impossible. And this is not only a matter of minor ailments: such work without caring for one’s own health can shorten life. It may sound too loud, but let's remember that the main cause of death in the world is cardiovascular disease. In addition, diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity are becoming more common. The programmer’s lifestyle contributes to these problems, however, in most cases they can be prevented through exercise and proper nutrition. We will look at the causes of these and other health problems, and then talk about how to eliminate these causes.
Translated to Alconost
Sitting is bad
Yes, this is literally harmful to health. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts asked a group of healthy young people to walk with crutches and canes so that the muscles on their left legs do not strain. After two days of such an experiment, the scientists performed a biopsy of the muscles of both legs. In the left leg, the DNA repair mechanism was disrupted, the insulin reaction decreased, oxidative stress increased, and the metabolic activity in individual muscle cells slowed down.
For programmers, this is almost a verdict, because writing code (which is our work and our passion) means sitting at the computer. But the consequences of sedentary work can be avoided: it’s enough to take a five-minute break for physical activity every hour. To improve metabolism, just go to the restroom.
We like to eat wrong
In order to achieve high goals, we can rush to unhealthy extremes. On the way home from work - we’ll drop in at a car café, we can have lunch every day with colleagues at a public catering or take a lot of carbonated drinks and sweets to the office - because there is no time to have lunch. And most importantly, we decided that caffeine is almost the only way to stay energetic and, in general, a secret source of developers' superpower. As a result, we turn into smokers, coffee addicts and absorb soda in liters. In this way we reinforce extremely bad eating habits. But in order to correct these habits, you will first have to realize them.
Everyone has different needs, so it’s very important to choose a diet and balance it: someone likes fruits, someone is crazy about vegetables. One needs to lose weight, the other - to gain. In some cases, the causes of unhealthy diets are rooted in psychological and emotional stress. They need to be dealt with - with the help of a doctor or independently, mentally setting yourself up to cope with stress and emotional pressure.
To improve nutrition, consult a nutritionist, make yourself a diet and strictly follow it. In your daily diet you need to include as many fruits and vegetables as possible. Drink plenty of water and eat less carbohydrate-rich foods - it causes the body's immunity to insulin, which from a medical point of view is called a prediabetic state, which can easily develop into type 2 diabetes . Reduce your intake of fatty foods, which increase cholesterol and triglycerides , which can lead to various diseases of the cardiovascular system.
Oh! Back hurts!
Typically, a developer spends more than 40 hours per week sitting at a computer. And only a few of us know how to sit in a chair. Therefore, many due to improper position and poor ergonomics of the chair develop chronic back pain.
You can check the strength of the spinal muscles using the exercise from the Kraus-Weber test .
If you can raise your torso from a supine position and hold it in that position for 10 seconds - congratulations, the test is passed. If not, you need to see a doctor.
First of all, it is important to find a fairly ergonomic chair, which should be adjusted according to weight and adapt to different poses. A good chair can really significantly improve posture and reduce back pain - however, you may already have a perfect chair. But you are sitting in it wrong. Proper fit depends on the physical parameters of the body. Adjust the height of the chair so that it properly supports the spine, evenly distributes body weight and so that the legs are on the ground.
If you write code or love to play, you may experience pain in your wrists due to constant use of the keyboard and mouse - numbness and tingling in your wrists and hands. Creating masterpieces of computer systems, we rely on our own hands - this is our working tool, and when the deadlines are tight, this tool often works without rest until late.
There is very little space in the wrist: nerves, tendons, muscles and blood vessels are compressed, squeezing through several small mobile bones. This causes friction, tension, tension, and over time, slight damage to the soft tissues inside the body leads to regular deformity injuries . To get rid of pain in the wrists, it is enough to perform simple exercises daily. More details here .
Exercises on the wrist. Image source - sequencewiz.org.
Headache and eye strain
Programming is a lot of creativity, and headaches are one of the main reasons for reducing work efficiency. Most headaches are directly related to vision. The most common disease (more than 80% of people who spend more than 3 hours on a computer every day) suffer from computer vision syndrome . This is one of the main factors leading to headaches, and in worst cases, even hallucinations.
It is important to wear the right lenses, because without them, the eyes will strain more to focus, and this will tire the muscles around the eyes, which can lead to headaches and even greater vision problems.
The following list will help you check if you care enough about your eyesight:
- How close are you to the screen? The monitor should be located at a distance of 0.5-1 m from the eyes - this is approximately the length of the outstretched arm, so it’s pretty easy to check here.
- How brighter is the computer screen than the lighting in the room? The big difference between the brightness of the screen and the illumination of the room quickly tires your eyes. If the cabinet has natural light, the brightness of the display should be adjusted throughout the day. To do this, you can install f.lux - this application will automatically change the screen brightness and color temperature during the day (just specify your geographical coordinates).
f.lux in action
- Is the screen too much glare? If you can see your face on the screen or a clear reflection of the background, then it too glares. Stick a matte or anti-glare film on the screen or get a glare-free monitor - do not postpone it for a long time.
Some recommendations, daily implementation of which will help to avoid computer vision syndrome:
- Blink your eyes more often . When working at a computer, we usually blink less often and can even focus so hard that we forget to blink. Blinking prevents eyes from drying out. Read more in this study .
- If you focus on one thing for a long time, your eyes get tired. You can stretch the muscles of the eyes by looking away for a while. The following recommendation works perfectly here: after 20 minutes of work, look away from the computer and for 20 seconds look at a remote object at a distance of at least 6 meters.
- To reduce glare and reduce eye strain, wear anti-reflective polarized lenses : they effectively relieve irritation, reduce dryness and fatigue.
To avoid headaches, consume less caffeine and fermented foods . If you have eliminated the listed factors and the headache remains, consult a doctor and check your eyes so that you are prescribed the proper treatment.
Life is an incredibly valuable gift. And the duty of every person is to take care of this gift. Therefore, acquire good social habits and strive for a healthy lifestyle. Your life, your vision and your aspirations are much more and more important than achieving any goals, ditching your health and losing your fuse.