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Simple Changes to Make Your Computer Habits Healthier

04/08/2015 03:45 pm ET | Updated Jun 08, 2015
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If you're a desk-bound employee who's expected to crank out code, review contracts, respond to emails or perform any one of the countless tasks that are now done with a computer, then you need to take extra care to be sure that your job isn't literally killing you.

In the most recent (2003) Bureau of Labor Statistics "Computers and Internet Use at Work" report, more than 77 million people relied on computers to perform their jobs. Yet, tech-reliant companies like CredoTech are aware that 60 percent of tech leaders are experiencing a skills shortage on their teams. If you don't work from a computer now, there's a good chance you could be in the future.

However, the fact of the matter is that sitting in front of a computer all day is a health risk. Yet it is a health risk that you can mitigate with good habits.

For simple ways to offset the negative effects of working on a computer all day, check out the tips below.

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Make time to move

A sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy. Unfortunately, if you're a white-collar employee, then it's likely you spend a lot of time sitting down. Sure, your mind is being exercised, but your muscles are sitting still.

Take a few minutes out of every hour to get up and walk around. Even if it's a quick trip to the break room for some more coffee or water, getting up throughout the day helps break up your sitting routine.

If you have access to a treadmill, jump on it every morning before work. Most treadmills are fitted with platforms where you can place a magazine or an iPad; in other words, you can still read the morning news while you're walking up a steep incline.

Sit up straight

Bad posture can hurt your back, and that pain can spread to your neck and head.

Be certain that, when you're seated at your workstation, you're sitting in a way that doesn't have a negative impact on your muscles.

For starters, have your workstation set up ergonomically. Your monitor should be at eye level, so that you're not always looking down. The display should be at arm's length from your head. It should also be angled up slightly.

Don't disregard the importance of an ergonomic office chair, either. That will give you some great support and may even strengthen your lower back.

Finally, follow your mom's advice and don't slouch when you're sitting down and working. Good posture leads to a healthy back and improved productivity.

Find ways to avoid eyestrain

Staring at your monitor for hours at a time can lead to eye strain and/or fatigue. That, in turn, can result in blurred vision, itchy eyes and headaches.

The solution here is to set up your workstation, and possibly your eyewear, so that you aren't squinting to read what's written on the screen.

Start with your monitor. Find one that, by default, gives you a view that's easy to read. You can also increase the size of your screen's font so that you won't have to strain so much.

Regardless of how much you love or hate your job, you shouldn't let it undermine your health. Practice these simple tips at work and maintain a healthy lifestyle outside of the office, and you can minimize the potential damages of sitting in front of a computer all day.

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