Saturday, October 10, 2015

Get up buddy!

I remember attending a major event in my life when I was in class 8 a couple of decades back. There was an institute named ‘Universal’ in my small home town of Changanacherry. They were having a very unique exhibition for which my dad took me and my brother. That was the first time ever in my life I saw this magical machine called ‘computer’. They showed us a CPU, a monitor, a keyboard and even a Floppy Disk! There was a wonderful game running on the black and white monitor which was called ‘Prince of Persia’. That day, little did I realize that these machines will have a major influence in my future life!

Years went by and computers in various shapes, sizes and colors have become part of our routine. It has become so much an integral part of our lives that it is almost impossible to spend a day without interacting with these brilliant innovations in one form or other. This also means that many of us tend to spend a considerable amount of time in front of these mean machines every day at work or at home.

A good number of professions around the world demand spending a lot of time at a stretch in front of these machines. Professions such as IT, Banking & Finance, Insurance, Customer Service and many more make you glued to your chairs for most part of the day staring at the monitors where your work gets done. This has a serious impact on one vital part of your body; your spine or backbone!

The human backbone is like a multistorey building where bones are stacked on top of each other with a disc in between each one. Bones as you know are pretty strong, but be aware of the fact that the discs are made of a softer material with a tough outer portion and a jelly like inner portion. These are meant to act as shock absorbers and as ligaments that hold the spine intact.

What’s important to note is the fact that the longer you remain in a specific position the more pressure you give to these building blocks. This leads to increased pressure to the discs and over a period of time the jelly like portion won’t be able to withstand the pressure anymore and will come out by tearing the tougher outer portion. This leads to reduced shock absorbing capacity for your backbone as well as added pressure to your spinal cord. So any extra load on your spinal cord will have an immediate impact on your health!

The symptoms usually start with minor back pain which increases over a period of time. It is extremely important not to ignore these minor pains and let it worsen to reach a point of no-return. The more serious scenarios are disc herniation commonly known as slip disc or to make it worse a complete paralysis resulting from a damaged spinal cord! The age old saying perfectly fits here. Prevention is better than cure.

There are many things including regular exercise that we could do to avoid such a situation. Here is a pretty simple action that you could do to save yourself from the perils of this obvious danger. Many of us who sit in front of the computers for a long time tend to forget to get up in between. It is important to take a quick break every half an hour at least by simply standing up for a few seconds giving the much needed relaxation for your backbone.

Most of us access official mails on one of the E-mail providers such as Outlook, Lotus Notes etc. There will be a reminder functionality on these applications. Set up a reminder for every 30 minutes that will pop-up to give you a message ‘Get up buddy!’ The moment you see the message just do the simple act of getting up from your chair and look somewhere else other than your monitor. This has a double benefit of providing a relaxation for both your spine and your eyes. If possible you could move around a bit before coming back to your seat. Once back on your seat, snooze the task so that it’ll remind you again in the next 30 minutes. Follow this regularly.

This is one of the easiest activities to follow to ensure that you do not overburden your spine. This will at least help you remember to do a simple activity that has a long term benefit. Go ahead and set up the reminder. The best buddies are the ones who really care for you. May this reminder be your best buddy while working on your computers!

Tail End: Don’t think that people who do not sit and work have nothing to worry. As I mentioned earlier, the longer you remain in a specific position, bigger the impact is. Ensure that you give your spine a chance to relax at regular intervals.

Wishing you a happy & healthy life! 

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