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Sarthak Sharma for XenoX

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Health issues you face being a Developer 🏥

You may be a JavaScript Developer or a Ruby Developer, but there is one thing common about us all, and it's the way we work. We all use computers, we all type, we all sit for long hours on a chair, and we all stare at a screen for an awfully long period on time.

I discovered my Dev lifestyle affecting my health two years ago, and since then I have changed it a lot. In one of my previous articles here, I shared my experience of deteriorating eyesight and how I fixed it.

Through this post, I came to know that many other devs have faced this problem as well.

So it’s a request to all experienced developers to share their story and tell us how you fixed your health problems or learned to to live with them.

This will help aware the young developers, who are just beginning their careers, to make better health choices.

Okay then, let’s start the discussion.

Top comments (53)

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rahulchowdhury profile image
Rahul Chowdhury 🕶

One thing that I do and suggest is to frequently take breaks and walk around. I wear a Fitbit and it nudges me every hour to get up and complete 250 steps. That kind of works for me.

I use stairs wherever I can & try to drink plenty of water.

I used to go to a gym every day but that habit got left out. Planning to start working out again.

It's very easy to get sucked in or wired in when you're enjoying coding something but sitting around too much will do a lot of harm in the long run.

Stay healthy.

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ferricoxide profile image
Thomas H Jones II

Fitbit user, too. Problem is, I've got sensitive skin and, over time, the band starts to rub my skin raw. When not at the office (office has a "no PEDs" policy), I end up switching it between wrists a few times per day. And, while I have the steps-reminder thing enabled, when I'm working from home, it's mostly meaningless. I usually have music on, and by the time ten-before-the-hour rolls around, I've usually registered well better than 250 steps just because of tapping my hand to the music.

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zkriszti profile image
Krisztina Závecz

I've been having really hard times lately (for about a month) during which time I just couldn't make it to the gym. Restarting again is hard, even for me who used to work as a group exercise trainer. How I still restarted training was the strategy of baby steps: ie. starting with light and not-so-focused workouts where my only aim was to enjoy what I'm doing (and not necessarily hitting PRs, etc). After 2 or 3 occassions, I might be back on track again. :)

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ferricoxide profile image
Thomas H Jones II

Gym was so much easier when I was a traveling consultant. Wake up before going to client site, roll downstairs to the hotel gym, do a quick 20-30 minute light weight-lifting session, return to my room to shower, then head to the client site. If the hotel I was staying at that week happened to have too many other guests doing the same thing, I'd usually switch my schedule to start the workout around 23:30.

Around here, the gyms are mobbed between 0530 and 0930 (and 1330 and 1930). And, while I should be able to work around that on my work-from-home days, the daily office-goers tend to schedule our meetings between 1000 and 1630 (with a lul between 1130 and 1300 in recognition that a lot of people tend to be unavailable due to lunch). Worse, meetings are subject to rescheduling, so getting on a fixed schedule is nearly impossible.

My substitute (when working from home) is, whenever I'm waiting for deployments to run, up the volume on my Chromecast speakers, get up, and do 5-15 minute dance-burns. Try to do it a couple times a day. EDM - especially dubstep and hardstyle, are great for that (and frenchcore is great if you really want to spike your heartbeat!).

I'm still a fatass, though.

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rahulchowdhury profile image
Rahul Chowdhury 🕶

That's awesome, Krisztina. Btw, how long have you been off workouts? I've been out of touch for like a year now. :-(

I agree with the baby steps approach.

I'm also thinking to start light bodyweight exercises at home first, get the hang of it again and then start going to the gym. :-)

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zkriszti profile image
Krisztina Závecz

It's been for about a (long) month for me. I'd suggest you just restart right at the gym - we may be different, but I can't really workout at home, it is just way too distractive! And I also like the "iron smell". :D You shouldn't be afraid of anyone mocking you (if this is your reason behind restarting at home). Those who do, don't have a clue about safe training. ;) (and otherwise, seriously, none of their business if you are starting out with lighter weights).

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rahulchowdhury profile image
Rahul Chowdhury 🕶

No, it's not about people mocking me. The gym is a little away from my home. Need to find the motivation to go there again. 😅

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma

I used to go to a gym every day but that habit got left out. Planning to start working out again.

All the best for that man from the fellow lifter.

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rahulchowdhury profile image
Rahul Chowdhury 🕶

Thanks, bro. :-)

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yucer profile image
yucer

I use workrave sometimes.

It remembers you to take breaks and also gives you ergonomic advices and exercises.

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rahulchowdhury profile image
Rahul Chowdhury 🕶

Nice tool. :-)

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ob3rg profile image
Oskar Öberg

I've encountered two health problems that i had to fix.

  1. Eye strain

I noticed quite quickly in my career that i got a growing headache as the day progressed. Glasses where the solution.

First i had a pair of Gunnar glasses (gaming brand) that had yellow tint and +0.25 strength that worked for two years. but after a while i noticed that that did not work anymore.
Now i have +2 in strength and require yellow tint on the glasses i use in-front of the computer.

  1. RSI

Started feeling pain in my lower arms, wrist and fingers especially when working on a laptop.
I solved this by starting to look at more ergonomic products. Started to use a split keyboard and external touchpad.
After some iteration I'm now at a setup that works really well for me.
Trackball, Keyboardio Model 01 and Ergorest supports.

I get a bit upset when workplaces try to save money on screens, keyboards, desks, chairs and such. That's one of the most important things for wellbeing and where we spend most of our time in the office.

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ferricoxide profile image
Thomas H Jones II

Genetic predisposition to carpal tunnel syndrome. Had my first carpal tunnel release surgery (on my right hand) summer following my freshman year of college). Had to have the other one done not long after my 30th birthday. Upon my return, convinced my employer they could save on medical insurance outlays related to RSD by issuing ergo keyboards (even if only "on demand" rather than "everyone gets one").

Note to all reading this thread that work in offices that have a lot of hot-deskers: if you're a touch-typist who hates when people sit down and "adjust things" (and leave them "adjusted") – an ergo keyboard is pretty much squatter-bane.

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attkinsonjakob profile image
Jakob Attkinson

I belive all tech companies should provide accessories on demand. My previous 2 companies didn't even want to buy be a mechanical keyboard, let alone stand desks or ergo chairs...

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ferricoxide profile image
Thomas H Jones II

I dunno that I'd say "the company should/has to buy me...", but if they get in the way of self-furnishing, then very definitely they should.

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma

Well said, Companies should take care of these things.

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tech_sam profile image
Sumit

Most common problem which most of the people faced is with lower back and it will lead to some serious issues like Anterior pelvic tilt.

Anterior pelvic tilt is caused by excessive sitting or lack of physical activity. It affects posture and the shape of the spine.

If you are not physically active and ignoring stiffness and pain occurred in lower-back then you have to check your posture immediately .

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yucer profile image
yucer • Edited on

This was a painful problem for me until one year ago. Then I did start to use an exercise ball as chair.

It seems that the muscles near the backbone are continually working in the moments where you move and unconsciously try to get the equilibrium state.

A year or more later, I have not experienced a single pain.

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ewoks profile image
Beeblebrox

Anymore resources on recommended exercise, breaks, ..?

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thejessleigh profile image
jess unrein

There's not necessarily a causal relationship here, but developers have a higher than average rate of depression and anxiety than the population at large. Keeping an eye on that and understanding what your rights are as an employee when it comes to mental health is super important. I highly recommend checking out Open Sourcing Mental Illness as a resource to learn more. They also do a census every year trying to bring awareness to the issue of mental illness in software. osmihelp.org/

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palmiak profile image
Maciek Palmowski

That's true. After 15 years of working as a developer at the end of last year I started having mental problems. Seeking professional help and taking 2 weeks off (non-paid) was the best decision.

Talking with a psychotherapist I've learned many things about myself and how big influence my job has on my life (it's the main reason of all my problems).

In short if you feel you need help - just find it, don't wait until it will become worse.

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straleb profile image
Strahinja Babić

It is definitely a topic worth to discuss.
For my eyes comfort and sight :D, I have downloaded flux which sets the tone color of your screen according to the local time you have.

I remember 2 years ago when I appeared in front of my friends and they could literally see veins on my ehh eye bags(sorry if the term is not correct, when you don't get enough sleep those bags under eyes ehh.. sorry for bad explanation xD but I hope you get the term) After I have installed flux my eyes felt really comfortable so that's the one I recommend for the Eyes.

Also, one thing that helps me out big time is going to the gym, if there is any stress that I felt in not being satisfied with my code or that something did not work the way I left it, you can take it all out in the gym :D
If you don't plan to go to the gym, then a walk on the fresh air will help.
Because always remember:

No Stress No Problems :)

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma

Gym is part of my morning routine. It just fill you up with all the positive energy to start your day.

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straleb profile image
Strahinja Babić

Agree, I would go in the morning, as I am from a small city we have only one Gym, and it opens at 12 PM so gotta wait till i can do those squats hehe :)

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sarthology profile image
Sarthak Sharma

Woah, that’s sad. Which city?

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straleb profile image
Strahinja Babić • Edited on

A small city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mrkonjic Grad :)

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zasuh_ profile image
Žane Suhadolnik

Flux user aswell! It takes a bit to get used to but once you do it's much easier on your eyes :)

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cecilelebleu profile image
Cécile Lebleu

I recently installed the app Pomy (on Mac) and it quickly became a new favorite. Basically, every 20 minutes it covers your screen for 20 seconds and recommends that you look away at 6m or 20ft. I get up and do a different type of stretching every time, depending on what I feel like doing. Sometimes jumping jacks, sometimes back stretch, etc. I also try to look out the window for part of those 20 seconds. It’s really not a long time so I always do it.
It also counts how many 20 minute work laps I’ve done, I’m using it to track productivity by writing down how many 20 minute laps I worked every day on my bullet journal.

For exercise, I’m rowing every day using a machine. It doesn’t matter how much, as long as it’s at least as much as yesterday.

And of course, constantly drink water and generally eat healthy and not in excess.

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molly profile image
Molly Struve (she/her)

we all sit for long hours on a chair

I recently switched to a sit/stand desk and it has done wonders for me! I started by standing only part of the day and now I stand all day. My back no longer gets sore and my neck doesn't get stiff. Standing seems to align everything how its suppose to be for me. Highly recommend trying some mix of sitting and standing when you are starting out.

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cecilelebleu profile image
Cécile Lebleu • Edited on

Standing desks sounds like a great idea, but I can’t stand up for over 20 minutes or I get terrible feet pain. I can walk for hours, but I can’t wait in line for a coffee or in a bank.
I’d be interested in trying one of those walking desks, with an integrated treadmill. Maybe it would be too much movement to focus properly? I don’t know.
Either way, stopping work to stretch and look out of a window at least for a minute every hour (I do every 20 minutes for 20 seconds) is great for back health and eye health as well!

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ferricoxide profile image
Thomas H Jones II

Never been able to do stand-desks. The entire time I'm standing, my concentration is reduced by at least 70%.

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milkyfloor profile image
MilkyFloor

Being a developer, I have to pay closer attention to my eyes and back. As I sit all my working time, I need to do sport at least once a day before or after work. I also order some health suppliers from this source. I like that service because I do not have to wait in a queue and buy medicines at huge prices.

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patelakash317 profile image
Akash Patel

Hey, Thanks for sharing!
Here is the one, which I would like to suggest for people who are working longer and especially who care for themselves.

SafeEyes - slgobinath.github.io/SafeEyes/
This protects your eyes from eye strain (asthenopia) by reminding to take breaks while you're working long hours at the computer.

It completely blocks the entire screen, so no options you have to take break, and that's how it works to force us to take care of ourself. Try it today.

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juliafayre profile image
Julia Fayre • Edited on

I am a full-time content marketer. I started having swelling in my feet, went to Doctors, applied many creams, now this massager I tried Arealer foot massager which is one of the bests and the top 10 in the list. It worked for me very well. Do you people use any? Stay healthy and stay strong dev!

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nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor • Edited on

Some of this has been mentioned, but exercise for sure and make sure to get up at least once an hour and hydrate.


King Julian from the Madascar movie

If you work from home, put plants in your office that purify the air, which reminds me I need to buy some new ones. 😉


Plant image

If you commute to work, use public transport if it's an option, or bike to work. Less cars on the road and you're getting free exercise on your way to work. Where I live, there is a city wide communal bike sharing service which I love.

I also go to an osteopath/chiropractor usually once a month to keep everything tip top. Even if you're not injured, there's normal day to day stuff that puts you body out of whack, e.g. slouching in your chair, leaning your head on your arm etc. I try to treat my body like a car. Make sure to give it tune ups. Obviously that one depends on your insurance at work, but use it if you have it.






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mjraadi profile image
Mohammadjavad Raadi
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lyonbach profile image
bahadir arslan

I am riding my bike to go to work everyday, which is almost 20 km total each day. It might sound a little extreme when it is in the middle of winter but, you also know, it feels a lot warmer when you are doing exercise. Higher cardio exercise is also good for eye health since it also regulates blood flow. Besides it is cheaper to commute, environment friendly (I guess, I also do not have a detailed study result about the overall greenhouse gas effect caused by bike transport industry :D) and cheaper.

The second thing I would suggest is, taking cold showers occasionally. It is very good for the immune system and also very helpful when you feel tired and need a kickstart for something.

Finally, I keep unhealthy food away from the desk. If it is easy to reach, it is very easy to consume. It is better to keep willpower for the solutions :).

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khantausifahmed profile image
Tousif ahmed khan توسف اھمد قان

Hi there

Sitting job has many side effects, never sit continuously for long hours, always take a break 10 minutes after 50 minutes of work, use glasses and blink your eyes frequently,

Coding work requires a lot of brainpower and sometimes this work leads to stress.
to manage your stress you need to know health tips you can learn more here
top20remedies.com/tips-relief-stress/

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boluker profile image
Boluker

I am using Java and AndroidJava. Faced back pain. Quite an unpleasant thing. Decided to use moist heating pad (check these guys out). The result was surprising. The back pain went away almost immediately. Of course, just using this thing won't help you. I also did special exercises and began to pause in the robot to give myself some rest. But as a prevention moist heating pad is quite suitable. Take care of your health fellow programmers.

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