Let’s face it: working with computers and other tech gear is not exactly the healthiest of occupations.
Many of us are perched in front of our beloved machines and devices all day long, and often for long stretches at night too, and we’re told sitting is “the new smoking”, so bad is it for our health that it carries severe health risks like those associated with obesity and lighting up cigarettes.
The Mayo Clinic tells us, for instance, that “Any extended sitting — such as at a desk, behind a wheel or in front of a screen — can be harmful.”
It says that an analysis of over a dozen studies carried out into time spent sitting down and activity levels “found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by obesity and smoking.”
If you’re sitting down and reading this in front of your computer and alarmed at the risks your job in tech is posing to your health, the good news is there’s not so much to worry about — as long as you take some form of action.
And by action, we mean getting up out of that chair and moving about.
The Mayo Clinic also says that even if you sit for long periods, it’s possible to counteract the negative health effects by being physically active for at least an hour during the day.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to kit up and run around the football pitch during your lunch hour; it can be as simple as getting out of your chair every half an hour and walking around.
You could also try a standing desk, which is becoming increasingly popular, and take walking meetings instead of sitting in conference rooms.
Plus, get off the bus or train a while before your stop and walk, and don’t take the elevator or escalator, but use the stairs instead — a great and easy workout for your leg muscles, and no gym equipment required.
The pressures and stresses of many people who work in tech mean that if you’re a smoker, you’re more likely to find it a battle to quit. While getting up from your workstation and going outside might be great for your health, once you light up a cigarette and start puffing away, you’re doing yourself a mighty disservice. Many smokers have tried all the many cessation methods currently available, including nicotine patches, sprays and gums, only to fail and end up going back to their burning tobacco addiction.
Now comes news that an altogether better and more effective smoking-cessation method is here, and millions are using it to get off deadly cigarettes for good.
It’s the e-cigarette, and if you think it’s like a tobacco cigarette but electronic, you’d be wrong. E-cigs such as vape pens contain a liquid base, nicotine and a flavour, but none of the thousands of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals found in cigarette smoke.
Nicotine is not actually known to be especially harmful to human health, even if it’s highly addictive, and with e-cigarettes, smokers get the nicotine they want and little else.
Additionally, unlike patches and gums, using something like a vape pen, and the vape juice it contains, gives smokers that important tactile feel they’re so used to with a cigarette; there’s no strange feeling of what to do with your hands because you’re no longer holding a cigarette, and you can vape away knowing you’re doing yourself a massive health favour.
Health authorities say vaping is at least 95% safer than smoking and many are backing e-cigarettes as a leading way to get off tobacco and become healthier all around.
When you’re desk-bound for a large part of the day, it’s all too tempting to just head to the nearest vending machine and get your sugar and carb fix from the many kinds of highly processed snacks and drinks that are so tempting and almost irresistible when you feel those hunger pangs.
They also, however, are a total health disaster and only really result in a spike in your blood sugar levels, followed by a crash — meaning that shortly after devouring the sweet treats, you’re starving all over again, and soon enough you’re troughing your way through a mountain of more, largely empty, calories.
Smart tech workers know that it’s wise to prepare your food and drinks at home — healthy whole foods, fruit and sugar-free drinks — and bring them in with you, thereby avoiding the temptation of the zombie machine with its overly manufactured foods, which only make you pile on the pounds. Just because you work in tech doesn’t mean you can’t be fit and healthy.