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Geek health: how not to sour by old age

Hi Geektimes! Today we will talk – suddenly! – about health. And to be precise – about how many hours of daily sitting at the computer affects and how you can minimize this harm in order to enjoy life in old age and continue to work while sitting at the computer, and not complain about life at doctors’ appointments.

Probably, many geeks believe that all the accompanying ailments will never visit them – they say, we don’t sit for days, walk, and in general we are not truckers. It’s sad, but true – problems happen from less, believe me. Therefore, it is worth thinking about it now. Moreover, there is no need to radically change your lifestyle and stop geeking ūüôā It is enough to set aside a total of a couple of hours a week for doing simple physical exercises.

Conventionally, all “computer” exercises can be divided into three blocks – for the eyes, for the joints of the hands and for posture. So let’s go.


Exercises for the eyes

In general, a huge amount of inaccurate and frankly false information is heaped around this topic. Sometimes, even from ophthalmologists, you can hear recommendations that, although they will not bring harm, but also benefit too. About various freaks-pseudoscientists and other sellers of magic pills that promise a complete restoration of visual acuity, you can not even mention. However, we did not aim to play doctors, our goal is to talk about preventive exercises that are guaranteed to minimize the harm from constant looking at the monitor. In general, there are three of them. You can perform them in any order.


  1. Lightly press the cushions of the index and middle fingers on the cornea of ‚Äč‚Äčthe eyes (closed, of course). You can just close your eyes tightly. Do it 6-8 times. Exercise improves the circulation of the ocular fluid in the corneal sinus.
  2. We smoothly transfer the focus of the gaze from the far point to the near one, alternately. Make at least 10 approaches. An important point is that it makes no sense to do this exercise with, for example, your fingernail on an outstretched hand, as it is recommended on the Internet (and the hand will get tired). For a remote point, select, for example, an object outside the window. This exercise keeps the lens of the eye in good shape and reduces the risk of myopia.
  3. Move your eyes in different directions – from right to left, from bottom to top, along both diagonals and in a circular motion. Make each movement at least 10 times. Strengthens the rectus and oblique oculomotor muscles.

Exercises for the joints of the hands

Although in youth arthritis seems to be something that will never touch you, all active computer users are at risk.¬†Arthritis, if someone is not in the know, collectively refers to any inflammatory diseases of the joints, however, in everyday life, this term is most often awarded to problems with the joints of the hands, as well as the so-called carpal tunnel syndrome (although, strictly speaking, it is not arthritis).¬†I am glad that regular simple exercises have long proven themselves to be truly effective in the prevention of hand ailments, so we do it 4-5 times daily – and you really don’t have to worry about carpal tunnel syndrome.¬†In¬†order:¬†

  1. Clench and unclench your fists several times.
  2. Clench a fist (not very tightly) and rotate the brushes in different directions.
  3. Make a fist and bend the entire hand up and down several times.
  4. Repeat exercise 1, but with a sharp opening of the hand, as if pushing all fingers away from you.
  5. Fold your fingers in an even row, take your thumb to the side and rotate it.
  6. Fold your fingers in an even row and bend your fingers only to the first phalanx.

It is recommended to lightly shake your hands after each exercise. 

Exercises against osteochondrosis

Osteochondrosis, or in other words, poor posture is a classic for all geeks and professionals like programmers. Although, in fairness, many of us get posture problems while still in school because of these monstrous uncomfortable chairs and desks, made for who knows what mutants.

Remember that if your osteochondrosis has passed from an early stage to something more disgusting, exercise can not only not be beneficial, but can also harm. In this case, remedial gymnastics will have an effect if it is compiled by a doctor individually for you.

Regarding the number of approaches for each exercise – here everyone decides for himself, to the best of his physical form and desire, but it is not recommended to do more than 10. And yes, these are not exactly the exercises that can be done quickly in a couple of minutes without going far from the workplace;¬†here, as you will now see for yourself, a more thorough approach is required.¬†Therefore, (especially if you work in an office) often doing them most likely will not work.¬†All the more carefully you will need to perform them when the opportunity presents itself ūüôā

Exercises for osteochondrosis are divided into three subgroups: for the neck, for the thoracic region and for the lower back.¬†Let’s go from top to bottom.¬†So, isometric (that is, to overcome the effort without movement of the part of the body itself) set of cervical exercises looks like this:¬†

  1. Press your palm on your cheek, try to turn your head and at the same time hold it with your hand. Repeat with both cheeks.
  2. Place your intertwined fingers on your forehead, trying to tilt your head while holding it with your hands.
  3. Likewise, keeping your hands on the back of your head.
  4. Clench your fists, place them under your chin. Try to lower your head.

Dynamic neck loads are also acceptable. You can: do shoulder lifts, throwing the head back (without fanaticism!), Turning and tilting the head (the latter Рwith arms outstretched in front of you).

The set of exercises for the chest area is as follows (here you will have to lie down on the floor once):

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent about 90 degrees. Curl up, pulling your knee to your head and at the same time pulling your face towards it.
  2. Sit in a chair. While slightly turning the body, touch the back of the chair with your palms. Do the exercise by placing your hands behind your back from each side in turn.
  3. Sit on a chair, cross your legs, rest on your thigh with the elbow of your opposite arm, then bend over, pushing your shoulder forward.
  4. Sit on a chair and press down as much as possible against the back with your shoulder blades and sacrum (but smoothly, you should not feel pain).  

Lumbar exercises against osteochondrosis are aimed mainly at expanding the¬†intervertebral spaces with simultaneous strengthening of muscles and stabilization of the spine itself.¬†Do the following (and here you don’t have to get up off the floor at all):

  1. Lie on your back with your legs slightly bent. Cyclically tense the abdominal muscles without changing the position of the legs.
  2. Lie on your back, put your hands at your seams, stretch your legs. Raise your head and chest area and hold this position for 8-10 seconds, without lifting your legs off the floor. Also, do not lift your hands off the floor, otherwise you will get a normal abs exercise.
  3. Lying on your back, bend your legs a little and put the opposite hand on the knee, then try to raise your leg, holding it with your hand (isometric exercise).
  4. Lying, stretch your legs as far as possible to the right, while trying to turn your body to the left. In this case, be sure to arch your lower back. Then roll over to the other side and do the same movements.
  5. Get on your knees, rest your head on a vertical support (against a wall or a sofa, if it hurts against the wall :), then bend the spine upward as much as possible (no fanaticism!), Freeze in this position for a couple of seconds and then gently bend it down (also as much as possible ).
  6. Get on all fours, arch your back, slightly tilting it to the sides.
  7. These are the simple exercises that do not require sports equipment, which will help to keep your eyes and joints in shape with a minimum of your precious time.¬†Print it out (or learn it by heart) – and start doing right from tomorrow.¬†Or at least from next Monday ūüôā Legs together, arms wider, do not rush, three or four.¬†

8. Prevention   

  1. A few more general tips on how to equip your workplace.

    First, place your monitor correctly. The center of the screen should be about 15-20 centimeters below eye level in your usual sitting position at the computer. Place the screen itself 60-70 centimeters from your face (the approximate arm length of an adult of average height). Keep the surface of the screen clean and do not place objects with bright reflections in your field of vision.

    Secondly, in order to avoid many diseases, use high-quality hardware, the manufacturer of which thought not only about how to cut the dough, but also about the convenience-health-comfort of the user.

    When choosing a monitor looking at the matrix type: many models of the mid-market are affected by¬†the FRC¬†– that is, their LCD panel is not able to display 2¬†8¬†degrees at each sub-pixel (that is, an honest 24-bit color), but can only 2¬†6¬†(total 18 bit).¬†And those colors that do not fall into the working color space of the monitor are achieved by mixing two adjacent image frames, which use two different shades.¬†On a number of monitors, in combination with PWM backlighting, this technology leads to increased fatigue, and monitor manufacturers are extremely reluctant to share which matrix is ‚Äč‚Äčinside and whether FRC is used or not.¬†One of the best relatively inexpensive monitors, I would call the¬†Dell UltraSharp UZ2215-H¬†.¬†It has an honest 8-bit matrix (while there is FrC technology, but is used to simulate 10-bit color, if required), excellent color reproduction and a nice price.
  2. It also has an older sibling¬†UZ2315-H¬†(diagonal and height-adjustable stand) and a 27-inch¬†version of the¬†UZ2715-H¬†.¬†Also, among the relatively inexpensive semi-professional models, we can note the ViewSonic VP2772, although we temporarily do not have it in stock.¬†ūüôĀ¬†In addition to the monitor, you should pay attention to the ergonomic keyboards and mice:
  3. Don’t skimp on an armchair yet (especially if you spend all day on it).¬†It is difficult to give any unambiguous advice here, except for one thing – choose a chair in which you will be¬†really¬†comfortable to sit.¬†Even to the detriment of the style of the room or anything else.¬†The chair should be as comfortable as possible for you, period.¬†Of the popular models, we can advise you¬†this one¬†– it is reliable and there are almost no complaints about it.¬†Unfortunately, because of the exchange rate, Herman Millers, which¬†boomburum¬†once¬†talked¬†about a¬†long time ago¬†, are worth some absolutely cosmic money.¬†Here’s a good¬†guide¬†to choosing chairs, albeit not new.¬†That’s all for now, you can start.¬†Or are you doing any similar exercises already?¬†If so, let us know in the comments.

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