How computer programming can kill you – and what I do to prevent that

computer-programmerAs a computer programmer, I have a little bit of a tendency to look at the “tiny little details” of things probably much more than I should.

When I’m working on a project that’s not such a bad thing, as I’m able to fly through chunks and chunks of code without missing a beat and correcting almost all of the errors and issues on just a couple of passes.

When I’m researching things about how to improve my health, or whether or not my job as a computer programmer is killing me, it’s not so handy. I usually up as a researching absolutely everything and become a borderline hypochondriac and start to freak out about implementing new habits and routines to protect myself and improve my health.

Because, believe it or not, becoming a computer programmer can actually kill you – and it’s entirely your own fault.

Sitting down can be just as bad as smoking

People (including me) were understandably shocked, upset, and at the same time absolutely blown away when the recent research published by number of leading universities stated that sitting down for extended periods of time each and every day can be at least as dangerous to our long term health as smoking multiple packs of cigarettes every week.

Think about that for a second.

Sitting down on your hind end for hours and hours at a stretch (you know, maybe like, when you’re writing code or something?) can be WORSE for your body and your long term health then sucking down a box of cancer sticks every couple of days.

But it’s true.

At the very least you should invest in something like a rowing machine in order to keep your muscles and body active. Some of the best rowing machines are truly fantastic pieces of equipment.

“You sit that close to the screen and you’ll burn your eyes out”

And as if that wasn’t enough to completely freak you out (and it probably should be), your mother or grandmother may have been right when they told you that sitting that close to a screen is going to burn your eyes out.

Now, your eyes probably aren’t going to start leaking out of your head like that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark – but you never know.

What we do know is that long-term exposure to computer monitors, computer screens, and other modern devices can do some very real and serious damage to our eyesight.

There are a couple of different things we can do to make sure that we manage and mitigate these issues as computer programmers without throwing our computer out the window and sticking to typewriters.

Here’s what my daily routine looks like now

Now I spent a couple of hours in front of a computer screen programming away, but I break those hours into major project chunks (say an hour or so of work) followed by a quick hike.

Whether that means I pile into my car and head out onto a trail with my brand-new hiking boots or just strap those bad boys to my feet and head out on an adventure in the neighbourhood makes little difference – it’s getting up and moving around instead of planting my rear on a seat that’s important.

On top of that, I’ve learned to use a couple of eyesight exercises that I picked up online to make sure that I don’t fry my eyeballs out while working.

So far, so good!

I’d encourage you to try at least both of these different tactics out if you are a computer programmer, and especially tell you that you need to spend some time hiking out in nature. Grab yourself a great pair of boots (you can find reviews online) and get lost for a little while – you’ll come back to each project with more energy than you could believe and you’ll be saving your life in the process!

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