02 July 2010

Health tips for internet users

Unbeknown to most, there are many health-related issues when it comes to surfing the net.

Unbeknown to most, there are many health-related issues when it comes to surfing the net.

Personal wellbeing is tied to the web in various ways, therefore Afrihost, as an Internet Service Provider (ISP), conduct research on the subject in order to promote a healthy corps of South African web surfers. Here are some of their findings:

Practice makes perfect posture
The first and most obvious way in which surfing the net can impact a person's health is through posture. Here are some tips on how to do it right:

  • Your forearms should be approximately horizontal and your eyes the same height as the top of the computer monitor or laptop screen.

  • Ensure there are no obstacles under your desk preventing your legs from moving freely.

  • While some movement is desirable and you should stand up you’re your desk frequently from, avoid repeated stretching to reach things you need by taking a few minutes to organise your desk in the most efficient manner.

  • Finally, consider using a high quality, adjustable office chair with arm rests.

It is vital to understand that posture equals practise. Take a few minutes after each browser-busting session to realign your posture with three simple yet powerful exercises from, oddly, Better Homes & Gardens:

  • Chin glide
    Neck-craning is a common behaviour for those web surfers who are choosing online time over optometrist time. This subtle move will counteract neck-craning caused by dodgy vision or tired eyes. Bring your teeth gently together and slowly, softly glide your head backward a few centimetres without tilting it until you feel mild tension. Hold for five to 10 seconds and repeat.

  • Mid-back makeover
    Extend your arms out and up to about shoulder height, bent elbows with palms pointing up. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. You should feel a stretch along your chest and the front of your shoulders. Hold for five seconds. Repeat five times.

  • Pelvic tilt
    This technique trains your pelvis to support your spine. Stand using good posture. Relax your hips and let your buttocks protrude somewhat. Place thumbs on lower ribs and fingers on hip bones. Tuck your buttocks under so your hip bones line up under your lower ribs. Hold for five seconds then repeat three times.

Finally, as far as posture goes, it is useful to know exactly what you should be aiming for. Most people naturally assume that proper posture is sitting bolt upright with our hips flexed as 90 degrees. As it turns out, a slightly reclined posture with the hips flexed at 100 to 115 degrees is ideal for those confined to desks for much of the working day.

Moderation in all things

Accessing the web can also benefit one's physical health. There is a lot of easy-accessible, useful medical information available on the web that can save you a visit to your doctor. The Internet can also put you in touch with gyms in your area, hook you up with training partners or introduce you to new activities. However, if you are finding that your time online is competing with your exercise regimen, try these novel suggestions:

  • Increase your mobility: Invest in a mobile handset that is Internet and email-enabled. This would mean the luxury of being able to nip off to the gym in the middle of the day safe in the knowledge that you can deal with any urgent emails.
  • Do your thinking outdoors: Because much of what we do at work today is intellectual compared to physical, there's not much point staring at your computer screen straining your eyes trying to come up with the next campaign idea when you could be doing exactly the same thing outdoors. So if your fingers are lying idle while your brain is active, go for a brisk walk and be inspired.
  • Work is work, play is play: The availability of social networking tools and instant messaging means that too many people are spending extended periods at their desks engaged in a mix of work-related and personal communication at the same time. Resist the temptation and set your IM channel, for example, to 'busy' or 'unavailable' during the work day so that you are able to complete your work within the allotted time. Then, briefly after work, devote a specific period of time to social networking and then call it quits so you can get to the gym. Your physical health will improve and your mental space will be less cluttered.

(Health24, July 2010)

Issued by Reliable Sources PR on behalf of Gian Visser at Afrihost.


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