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Are Programmers Doomed? Health a Major Topic

The Pain of Being a Programmer

There’s a silent epidemic sweeping through the programming industry and it doesn’t have to do with software, development, or algorithms. It’s much more personal. It has to do with health and the impact sedentary behavior has on the human body.

Sitting is the New Smoking

According to research conducted by the American Heart Association advisor, sitting too much is dangerous to your present and long-term health. In fact, the experts believe sitting can be as bad for your health as smoking. Spending hours per day sitting at a desk has been connected to type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Sitting is a problem in many industries, but programmers are particularly susceptible to spending long hours in front of a keyboard and computer screen. If you’re an average programmer, you probably spend eight-plus hours at your desk. And while some sitting is fine, it’s imperative that you identify ways to reduce the amount of time you spend being sedentary.

How to Improve Your Health on the Job

For all of the talk about personal health and ways to remain fit, there’s very little talk about sitting. But as a programmer, you have to take this just as seriously as sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Otherwise, you’ll end up hurting your productivity and shortening your career.

Here are some specific things you should be doing:

1. Get Up and Move Around

In order to prevent many of the issues that are associated with chronic sitting, researchers recommend two to four hours of movement in a typical eight-hour workday. Ergonomics expert Allan Hedge suggests the following breakdown for each half hour: sit for 20 minutes, stand for 8 minutes, and move around for 2 minutes. (A standing desk is an excellent way to get in some standing time without compromising productivity.)

2. Improve Desk Posture

If you’re spending six-, seven-, or eight-plus hours sitting at a desk every day, then you need to find a way to improve your posture. Better posture will not only reduce chronic aches and pains that you experience in the neck and back, but it’ll also help you avoid long-term damage.

The biggest tendency most people have is to hunch over towards the screen. In order to prevent slouching, you need a good chair with strong support. It’s also important that you position your chair, computer monitor, and keyboard in the right places.

3. See a Chiropractor

The nervous system is like the human body’s master control switch. It influences your body’s tissues, cells, and organs – directly impacting cellular functions. And, as you may already know, the spinal column encases and protects the nervous system.

“Because of this intimate relationship, biomechanical and structural problems in the spinal column can irritate parts of the enclosed nervous system,” Whole Body Health explains. “The functioning of the nervous system is then negatively affected, as is the functioning of the cells, tissues, and organs that are controlled by the affected nerves.”

If you spend hours per day in front of a computer, then chances are high that your spinal column is out of whack. Seeing a chiropractor to correct these subluxations can get you feeling better.

Don’t be Foolish

No offense to any of the smokers out there, but smoking cigarettes in 2017 is foolish. You know the tremendous health risks and are voluntarily inhaling cancer-inducing chemicals and toxins with every puff you take.

You might not smoke, but why then – if sitting is labeled as the new smoking – do you continue to live a sedentary lifestyle? Sure, programmers are required to spend hours in front of screens everyday, but there are ways around continuous sitting. It’s time that you do something about it.

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Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.