Posted July 23, 2012 by Spyros in General Tips & Tricks

4 Health Tips For Marathon Coders

Boston Marathon
Boston Marathon

As a coder, you know more than anyone the physical and mental toll of spending long periods in front of your computer. Despite the many advantages of a coding career, the sedentary nature of the work is far from conducive to a healthy lifestyle. In order for you to enjoy your work for many years to come, it’s critical to pay attention to all aspects of your health that may be affected by the long hours in front of the screen. Taking care of yourself will naturally lead to more work productivity and a higher quality of life.
Read on for some of the most helpful healthy coding tips:

1) Give your eyes the TLC they need to do this type of work. People who spend hours at the computer are focusing only on a point just inches from their eyes. This is bad. Uninterrupted, this activity leads to the eyestrain so many computer users suffer from. Take frequent eye breaks to focus on an object at least thirty feet away. It’s also a good idea to use a full spectrum lighting lamp at your desk in order to simulate real daylight outside.

2) Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common problems for computer users. In order to avoid this often debilitating condition, be sure to take regular breaks to stretch and relax your hands and fingers. Make sure forearms and shoulders are fully relaxed and that your wrists remain straight when typing. Good posture at the keyboard is one of the most important habits to cultivate if you’re counting on a long career of coding.

3) As a coder, you can’t afford to be physically or mentally lethargic. Keep your water bottle (not your coffee cup) full and watch what you eat. It’s easy to lose track of time when coding, meaning you run the risk of becoming dehydrated, over caffeinated and a few pounds heavier than you’d like to be. Mild dehydration is hard to notice, but without enough water in your body, your mood, perception and ability to think clearly are negatively affected. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, drink copious amounts of water, avoid additive and sugar-laden foods and snack smartly. By doing so, you’ll keep your energy level high and your waistline in check.

4) Along the same lines, schedule several breaks during the day to really move your body around. Walk for 30 minutes whenever possible, and regularly stretch your legs, arms, neck and back. The deceptive thing about computer work is that from the outside it seems that not moving all day would be easy on the body, but this is actually counterintuitive to what our bodies were made to do, which is move. When our bodies become stiff, our minds are soon to follow.

Coders, as well as anyone whose livelihood depends on sustained periods of computer use, are faced with the ongoing challenge of maintaining good health while being essentially sedentary all day. The longer you sit at the computer, the greater your chances of the mental and physical fatigue that can jeopardize your career and your quality of life. Start today with some proactive steps towards a healthy coding lifestyle!

This guest post was provided by Erin Palmer. Erin is a contributor to U.S News University Directory a leading resource for locating computer science programs from accredited colleges. The directory also offers a growing collection of education articles and career videos for your review.