Put Down the Pizza or the Blackberry gets it!

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Health is important, especially for those of us who work daily in front of computers. For instance, this weekend I went to get new eyeglasses. My prescription hadn’t changed a whole lot in the two years since I last visited Pearle, but it did get worse. When the doctor found out I’m a writer, he cautioned me to periodically give my eyes a break during the day to alleviate eye strain, reduce the likelihood of headaches and allay work-related deterioration of my eyesight.


Apparently, if you’re near-sighted, which I am, and stare overlong at your computer, your eyes get used to looking that short distance ahead. They weaken, and when you look at things far away, your eyes have more difficulty processing the images. Luckily for me, I work on the 35 th floor with a fantastic view of Lake Michigan and the Michigan Avenue skyline in downtown Chicago. I often “rest” my eyes by looking at the waves hit the beach or watching the occasional ambulance make its brightly lit way through traffic.


This week’s Web poll deals with another important health topic: nutrition, specifically IT eating habits. The winner of the late-night deadline munchie of choice is pizza; more than 35 percent of you chose this fast food staple. I’m not going to tell you to stop eating pizza because it’s sooo bad for you. Given my personal fast-food preferences I’d have to say a resounding, “Who cares? Pizza tastes good!” But I will caution you to monitor serving size. Meaning, eat one or two slices, rather than a half or a whole pizza by yourself. That, my IT-powered friends, is definitely over kill.


If you’re still hungry after one serving has disappeared into your mouth like dust down the mouth of a vacuum hose, supplement your late-night pizza fix with a piece of fruit, and quench your thirst with water rather than pop from the vending machine. Also, next time you eat, slow down. Eat more slowly, and chew more thoroughly. This not only helps you feel full faster, it can alleviate indigestion and reduce incidents of acid reflux.


Now, get up and move around! Just because you work in IT, it does not mean you have to be pale, ineffectual and incapable of lifting a few reams of computer paper without aid. If your company has a gym, use it. If it’s not snowing, raining or freezing, go for a walk. And if it is snowing, raining or freezing and you’re on a late-night deadline, walk up and down the office. It’s late, remember? No one’s around, and if they are, they won’t care. Someone might even join you in your potted version of a walk around the block. Or you can stretch. Try some deep breaths, in through the nose and out through pursed lips, to relieve stress. And don’t forget to periodically rest those eyes by looking away from the monitor. Who knows? Once you master these little steps you might get obsessed with being healthy. Okay, maybe not.

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