I have been working as a programmer for the last decade or so. My job is giving me great satisfaction at professional level, but on the other hand, sitting for long hours in front of a computer may have its drawbacks. A couple of years ago, I realized that I was starting to have an annoying back pain, especially at night. Also, I was slowly starting to gain weight. Slowly, but relentlessly.
Then, about a year ago, at the end of a long code writing session, I experienced double vision. It only lasted about three hours, but it was enough to wake me up and take conscience that I could no longer live this kind of sedentary life. My lifestyle was taking its toll, and my body was starting to send me signals that something was wrong. After seeking professional help for my eyes and back, I started to adjust to a new, more healthy approach to work (and life in general), using the following strategies.
Right Furniture, Right Posture
I changed my desk, choosing one that had the right height. This way, I could decide to work while sitting, or even standing up. I have bought an ergonomic chair that supports my back and a stool for foot and ankles relief. I changed bulbs and lamps, going for a great diffused lighting that didn’t created shadows. I am so happy about this office makeover, that I think it is the best investment I’ve ever made for my job.
Even if I am very hungry, I try to avoid eating at my desk. The only edible items allowed on my desk are a cup of coffee or tea and my water bottle. I drink about 1.5 liters of water each day, and this has an incredible positive impact on my performance. In fact, a correct hydration is essential to keep all our body (and mind) functions at their best. I try to have a balanced diet and I’ve totally banned snacks. I have a wholesome breakfast, then lunch and dinner.
Yoga for Computer Geeks
My body is my temple, not just my “casing”. If my energy flows in the correct way throughout my entire body, this is reflected in my mind as well. Yoga is perfect not only for relaxing and meditation, but it can really help on a physical level. The practice of the asana has strengthened my muscles and improved my posture.
Watch Your Eyes!
I take short and frequent breaks from working. If I work one hour, then I rest my eyes for about 10 minutes, then I start again. I have learned some interesting exercises to relax my eyes. One of this is a technique called “palming”. It consists of closing the eyes, then covering them with the hands, without touching the surface of the eyelid, resting the side of the palms on the face. This concentrates body warmth in the air between the palms and the eyes, with a great relaxing effect. That is a good method to protect the eyes. Another thing that some people in the office do is wear blue light blocking glasses. This helps them to protect their eyes from the blue light emissions that some computers and monitors can release. Normally, blue light emissions will cause eye strain and damage, so it’s important to wear those glasses or take regular eye breaks.
The Fitness Apps
I was probably one of the first people to download a fitness app. They are great to motivate you if you (like me) are a bit lazy. I can keep track of my daily routine, change the exercises, and even monitor my calorie intake using this app.
Can I find 10 Minutes? Yes, I Can
I love to go running and biking outdoors during weekends. However, my tight schedule during working days does not allow me to spend one or two hours out and about. Nevertheless, a friend of mine that works at the gym has helped me create a fast and efficient routine to relax my back and strengthen abdominal muscles, arms and legs. All that it takes is 10 minutes a day!