IT is a growing field but it is also hard to define – these days, it is used as a nebulous umbrella term that includes pretty much all the work done in front of the computer, and this is where most health concerns come from. Hours upon hours of rigid sitting in front of the screen simply have to include some consequences, and here are the biggest health concerns for IT professionals.
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Repetitive Stress Injury
This sort of health concern is not only a problem that plagues IT professionals. Many an avid gamer has suffered RSI after years-on-end of incessant clicking on that mouse button. This sort of injury is fairly easy to explain and not that hard to prevent. When your hand is held in a specific position for a long time and you overwork only a couple of muscles, other muscles present in the hand will get numb, which leads to swelling, stiffness and, even worse, nervous breakdown. Remember to get up every half an hour to stretch and have a short walk around the office.
The eyes are the most delicate part of your body that also get the most consistent levels of strain as you toil away in front of the screen. It has become common knowledge that 70% of IT professionals have some sort of vision problems, so be vigilant. You should do a reliable eye test every now and then in order to check if everything is naturally ‘calibrated’ within your eyeballs and, if it is appropriate, to take necessary action in order to ensure appropriate care of your vision. You can also use screen guards for the computer screen or a special kind of protective glasses that are not particularly hard to come by these days.
Obesity is one of the leading problems of IT employees, but it is not as overwhelming as the danger of heart issues that comes with long-hour workweeks and the sheer levels of stress one is exposed to when working within such a hectic field. Lack of quality sleep combined with anxiety, bad eating habits and the rigidity of spending such a long stretch of time in a week ‘trapped’ in the same position leads to cardiac arrest among men as soon as they hit their 30s. This is why, among other things, IT workers should make necessary changes to their schedule in order to make room for cardio activities such as walking, jogging, swimming or – and this one is becoming more popular each year – practicing yoga.
Neck pain is just the tip of the iceberg. This sort of a chronic problem signals deeper issues with your neck that can be life-altering or even dangerous. Cervical spondylitis is a common issue, but, since all of us have some sort of micro-deviation in our spine posture, a bad neck position while you work can lead to neck-scoliosis, which is an extremely serious problem. Such issues can lead to nerve damage, medical issues that extend to the rest of the body – constant headaches, bad ‘connectivity’ between the brain and the body, and many others.
Keep in mind that your neck is the grand subway between your mind and every other inch of your body below your shoulders, so you should pay extra attention that everything works like a charm in there. This, of course, can be difficult since we are talking about a complex network of cartilages, muscles and blood vessels. Head rotation exercises – at least three sessions a day – can make a world of difference if you stick to them.
Since IT is a growing field, we are also looking at the ever increasing list of ‘life hacks’ that should help all toiling workers deal with the pain and nuisance related to constantly sitting in front of the computer. Some of these tips have proven to be more efficient than others, but you should nevertheless try all of them out in order to see what works for you and to keep your body in good shape. A big problem – and the one both employees and employers tend to overlook – is the issue of overworking. In order to stay physically and mentally sharp, you need to keep that work stress minimal and, once your shift is over, walk right out of the office.