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Occupational diseases of programmers. Check what risks are associated with your work.

Sitting work is standard today, and the pandemic has clearly shown that many people do not even have to leave home to do it. Programmers undoubtedly belong to this group, spending from several to a dozen or so hours a day at their desks. And although it is usually not immediately visible, this type of work has a negative impact on both the human body and mind. Find out what health problems programmers most often face and how you can eliminate the unpleasant consequences of this lifestyle.

Our bodies don't like sitting

Many people have a hard time understanding that sitting is bad for us. After all, this is often the position in which we relax after a whole day of work at the desk. However, we must realize that our bodies were created to move. And it is movement that helps keep them in good health and condition.

For the next millennia, movement was part of our everyday life. However, this changed with the advent of the digital revolution. In a relatively short time, we moved our work to computer screens, which quickly became our source of entertainment. Spending long hours at a desk is something completely normal for us today, but our bodies still cannot get used to this drastic change. As a result, we endanger our health almost every day without realizing it. Therefore, it is worth knowing what the long-term consequences of working at a desk may be in order to prevent them effectively.

What hurts a programmer? These are the most common occupational diseases of IT workers

Back pain is the first problem we mention when working at a desk. In fact, the list of diseases that affect programmers, among others, is much longer. As we have already mentioned, constant sitting and lack of movement affect our body and mind. Therefore, we must take into account that such a lifestyle has serious, long-term consequences. Below you will find a list of the most common health risks affecting developers, starting with the most obvious ones.

Occupational diseases affecting programmers include:

  • diseases of the spine and joints - a sitting position promotes overload of the spine and joints. Another problem is usually that we do not maintain the correct posture when working at a desk. As a result, programmers often complain of pain in the back, neck, shoulders, and upper and lower spine. Leading such a lifestyle for many years may result in serious degenerations, which will become more and more troublesome with age;
  • overweight - sedentary work, lack of daily exercise, and sometimes not entirely healthy eating habits - all this means that we burn too few calories, which unnoticeably turn into additional kilograms. It is worth remembering that being overweight affects not only our appearance, but above all the functioning of our body and may, among other things, lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, so it should not be underestimated;
  • carpal tunnel syndrome - a condition that occurs in people who use a mouse frequently and for a long time. It is caused by compression of the median nerve running in the carpal tunnel. Its symptoms include persistent pain and numbness in the thumb, index and middle fingers, and sometimes also part of the ring finger. In most cases, the only effective treatment for this condition is surgery;
  • eye diseases – staring at a computer screen for many hours is a recipe for vision problems. Programmers very often struggle with, among others, dry eye syndrome (insufficient tear production) and conjunctivitis. Most of them also suffer from impaired vision of objects in the distance, i.e. myopia;
  • circulatory system diseases - overweight and low physical activity negatively affect the functioning of our circulatory system. As a consequence, this may lead to hypertension, varicose veins, and even atherosclerosis and serious heart diseases that may lead to a heart attack;
  • mental disorders - stress, repetitive tasks, working in isolation and lack of physical activity are some of the factors that affect the mental health of programmers. The effects of such a lifestyle may include, among others, depression and cognitive impairment.

Of course, these are only the most important health problems that programmers have to face. However, this list shows clearly that there are quite a few threats that may result from this mode of operation.

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Don't lose your health, get it back!

If you deal with programming and after reading the above list you start looking for opportunities to change your field, don't worry. First of all, it is worth introducing a few less radical changes in your life and way of working that can relieve the burden on your body. So what can you do to improve your fitness, health and well-being despite sedentary work?

1. Ergonomic workstation. It has been said for years that when working at a computer, we must take care of proper ergonomics. And this statement is still valid, because maintaining the right posture when sitting for a long time is of great importance for our body and health. Proper positioning of the monitor, keyboard, mouse, chair, footrest and, of course, desk are the basics that are always worth taking care of.

2. Working standing. Just a few years ago, the idea of ​​working at a computer while standing seemed crazy. However, now we know how beneficial this type of desk work is for our body. More movement during the day, better functioning of the circulatory system, but also often more effective and comfortable work, these are some of the advantages of this solution. Of course, no one forces programmers to stand all day. The work can be divided into sitting and standing blocks. Desks with adjustable top height are a great simplification. Just press the appropriate button to change the height of the desk in a few seconds. Is this solution a cure for all evil? Of course not! You have to remember to get up and work standing from time to time. However, it is definitely worth trying to change your habits to improve your work comfort and reduce its negative impact on your health.

3. More movement during the day

Movement is health, and in sedentary work, every dose is worth its weight in gold. That's why it's good to include some exercise in our everyday life. Especially since it is much simpler than it may seem. How to do it?

  • take more frequent breaks from work - set an alarm on your phone and step away from your desk for 2-3 minutes every half hour. During this time, stretch, do a few squats, walk around the office or go to the kitchen to make something to drink;
  • don't skip your household chores - vacuuming, mopping floors or dusting are often disliked activities, but doing them also means an additional dose of exercise;
  • choose a walk/bike whenever you can - if you have to do smaller purchases, do something at the office or pick up a parcel from a parcel locker, always try to give up the car in favor of walking or cycling.

4. Active rest

When we feel tired after a long day of intense work, all we dream about is stretching out on the couch. Your favorite game, series or book certainly gives you a lot of pleasure, but your body has a completely different opinion about it. So it's worth pushing yourself to find an activity that you simply enjoy.

Swimming pool, aerobics, yoga, bike, roller skates, dance classes, or maybe running or a simple walk - there are plenty of possibilities! And if you really want to watch this series, maybe it's worth investing in a home treadmill or elliptical trainer? Your body will be very grateful to you for it.

5. Balanced diet. Diet has a huge impact on our health and well-being, and for people working at a desk it is particularly important. Bad eating habits inevitably lead to overweight and obesity, and from there it is a short path to diabetes or hypertension. So make sure your meals are balanced and regular. If you have a problem with this, you can seek help from a dietitian or the so-called box diets.

6. Regular examinations. Prevention is the basis, so it is worth undergoing regular examinations and, if necessary, consulting appropriate specialists. It's best to determine in advance in which month of the year you will perform all the necessary check-ups and just stick to it. The profession of a programmer does not seem particularly tiring, but as you can see, IT employees also need to take care of their health. It is good to be aware of the threats associated with this profession and to counteract them early. Thanks to this, our body will serve us well for years to come and we will be able to do our work more effectively.


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Best regards, Katarzyna Karpińska

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