by Mia Martins, jaBlog! Blogger and Drama Co-editor
Though health problems are commonly associated with riskier jobs that require much more physical exertion than writing–careers such as police officers and firefighters, for example–it turns out that the lack of physical activity during writing is precisely what makes writers prone to several health problems.
Now, most of the health problems faced by writers are subtle issues that can take several years of repetition to occur. As this is a site for young writers, I doubt that any of these health complications have fully taken affect in our readers. However, it is always better to be proactive and prevent these health issues from ever taking hold. Aim to be a physically fit writer.
Sitting is hard on the body. The number one health concern for writers is the fact that we sit for hours at a time. Studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time actually decreases your life expectancy, and this loss cannot be made up for with vigorous physical activity. In other words, you can’t sit for six hours every day and cancel it out by going to the gym for an hour.
The solution to this problem is to continuously move throughout the day. One popular option is to invest in a standing desk so that you can write while standing. If you can’t afford such a desk, try to find another high surface to balance your laptop on and write there while standing. Otherwise, make sure to stand up frequently during long writing sessions, and try not to go more than an hour straight without moving around.
Fit Writer Tip #1: Move and stretch regularly.
Eyes need breaks too. Another prominent health problem for writers is the issue of eyestrain. Now more than ever, children are using screens at a younger age and for more prolonged periods of time. However, it isn’t good for our eyes to stare at a screen for so long. When we do this, we subconsciously blink less, drying our eyes. In order to keep your eyes from being strained, make sure to look at a variety of depths and lights. Every twenty minutes, look up to every side. Focus on an object twenty feet or so away for thirty seconds. The main idea is to give your eyes frequent breaks from the screen.
Fit Writer Tip #2: Give your eyes frequent breaks.
How you sit matters. Many people have bad posture when sitting, especially when sitting and writing. Bad posture can strain the neck and the spine, so it’s important to be aware of how you sit. First, make sure that your computer screen is at the right distance so that you don’t strain your neck looking at the screen. The top of your screen should be at (or slightly below) eye level when looking straightforward without bending your neck. Next, adjust your posture. Sit up straight without slouching and put your shoulder blades back while keeping your shoulders down. Your posture should be comfortable to maintain.
Fit Writer Tip #3: Mind your posture while writing.
The point of this article is to encourage all young writers to be proactive concerning these health issues. If you plan to have a job as a writer in the future–or any job that requires long periods of sitting and looking at a screen. It is imperative to know what problems you might face. The best way to avoid these problems altogether is to prevent them from the beginning. By following these guidelines now, you can be a fit writer and, hopefully, be more productive now and in the long run.
A note from the Senior Editor on this issue:
I wanna be a fit writer too. I need to get in the habit of moving my body, caring for my eyes, and sitting properly during long sessions at the computer. – Laura