More people than ever earn their livings by sitting at a desk and staring at a computer screen for eight hours. When they come home after a long day on the job, often the first thing that they do is get out their smartphones and sit for another few hours watching videos or catching up on personal business. Humans were not meant to be motionless for extended periods, and over time all that inactivity can actually kill you. Let’s take a look at what kind of damage can be done by all that screen time, and what you can do to counteract it.
What’s the Damage?
You’ve probably already noticed that after a long time in front of your laptop or phone that your limbs are stiff, your back hurts and your eyes feel grainy. A 2014 study shows that adults spend a whopping eleven hours a day on average in front of a screen. Being sedentary is terrible for your body and can bring on a host of ailments like chronic pain, heart problems, disrupted sleep, and even bone issues.
Developing Poor Habits
It’s bad enough to sit still for hours at a time, but it’s worse when it’s combined with terrible posture and a lousy diet. Many of us are guilty of chowing down on fast food at our office desks trying to catch up on work or demolishing a bag of chips while we play online games slouching on the sofa for hours on end. Careless habits mean that obesity, diabetes and heart disease are genuine possibilities, not to mention spine damage by twisting it in ways that nature didn’t intend.
What Can You Do?
The easiest way to avoid these problems is, of course, limiting your screen time. However, you can take steps to offset the sedentary life just by scheduling regular breaks. You should get up and move every hour, even if it’s only walking to the restroom and back. While sitting, know that good posture is important. You might consider investing in ergonomic chairs that encourage better posture. Break the habit of eating in front of the computer to lessen mindless snacking and improve food choices.
Technology is a wonderful thing, but not when it encourages deterioration of your mind and body. It’s important to make sure that you take care of your body to prevent health problems in the future. With a few mindful tweaks, you can enjoy your screen time without lasting ill effects.