Every day, affiliates around the world are spending a huge percentage of their time sat in front of some sort of screen. It’s the nature of the job.  

But have you ever stopped to consider whether spending your day staring at a screen is doing any damage to your eyes? Or wondered whether so much time spent sitting down could be affecting your health? Most of you probably haven’t.

But consider how much time you actually spend in front of a screen in order to do your job.

Imagine you decide to build a new site which focuses on the sports supplement niche; a niche you are brand new to. You’ll need to research and completely familiarise yourself with your target market and pick the first products that you want to review on your site. Done thoroughly, this alone could take you up to 8 hours or more. You then need to create your site and write some unique, quality content for it. That’s several more hours in front of the PC researching topics and appealing content, then writing your articles, not to mention all the time you’ll be spending writing and adding regular, fresh new content.

When such a huge proportion of your time is spent in front of a screen, it can lead to some serious health problems. So isn’t it time you started taking more care of yourself in your work environment?

Let’s look at the common problems caused by a sedentary working lifestyle and how you can avoid them.

Computer Related Eye Problems

The old saying goes that ‘watching too much TV will make your eyes go square’, but is there any truth behind this? Just how bad is looking at computer screens for our eyes?

Studies have shown that between 50 and 90% of people who work in front of a computer screen have some symptoms of eye trouble. If you’re looking at computer screens frequently (more than 3 hours a day), you may experience:

  • Eye Discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Itchy eyes
  • Dry or watering eyes
  • Burning sensations
  • Changes in colour perception
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty focusing

Did you know that we blink around 18 times per minute? This naturally refreshes the eyes, but when we look at a computer screen or other digital devices, our blink rates are reduced. This can cause our eyes to dry out, leading to them turning red or feeling itchy.

Computers have changed the way we see the world, but are they changing the way we see?

It’s pretty scary when you consider the following facts:

  • Optometrists see more than 10 million people a year complaining of computer-related eye problems
  • Of the people who suffer from computer-related eye problems, 70% wear glasses or contact lenses
  • Without proper vision correction, worker productivity can decrease by as much as 20%
  • Eyestrain is the number one computer-related complaint, ahead of carpal-tunnel and neck and back pain
  • 45% of people feel back or neck pain after prolonged use of a computer or smartphone

Overall, it’s not computer screens themselves that cause problems, it’s the conditions surrounding the screen, such as the placement of computer equipment. Using computers at a close distance requires much more focusing, leading to eye fatigue, as can looking at the screen continuously for long periods.

Instead of turning a blind eye to the damage that prolonged use of computers can cause to your eyes, try these quick and easy steps to reduce eyestrain:

  • Blink often to moisten and refresh your eyes
  • Frequent breaks are a must – take short one minute breaks to look away from your screen
  • Position the top of your monitor no higher than eye level
  • Believe it or not, the way you breathe can have an effect on the eyes. Breathe correctly to relax your eye muscles

You can minimize the impact of computer-related eye problems by remembering the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, stop what you’re doing and for 20 seconds look 20 feet away.

The Sitting Disease

Did you know that around 80% of jobs require no physical activity? Affiliate marketing is just one of many! Since 1980-2000, sitting time has increased by 8% and obesity has doubled, which isn’t surprising when you consider that for many of us, a typical day might involve 8 hours behind a computer screen, 2 hours for meals, up to 5 hours watching TV and relaxing at home, and another 8 hours sleeping. That’s 23 out of 24 hours off our feet!

Such sedentary lifestyles have been coined the ‘Sitting Disease’. It’s even been suggested that the sitting disease could be just as dangerous to your health as smoking.

Every time you sit down, the electrical activity in your leg muscles immediately shuts off, calorie burning drops to 1 per minute and the enzymes that help break down fat drop by 90%. After just two hours of sitting, good cholesterol drops by 24% and the risk of diabetes rises.

Conditions associated with excessive and prolonged sitting are:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Poor balance and mobility
  • Hip pain
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer

For many of us, sitting for 8 hours a day at our job is inevitable, but it is all that extra sitting outside of work that can turn an already serious problem deadly. The human body isn’t built to sit for long periods of time, just like it isn’t built for standing still all day.

A hundred years ago, most people were out working in fields or in factories and constantly moving around. Back then, obesity was basically non-existent. Nowadays, most of us don’t have the luxury to run free in the fields for the rest of our days, so we have to help our bodies in other ways.

Until recently, experts considered the antidote to the sitting disease was an exercise session. But research now shows that that isn’t enough to make up for all the time you spend sitting. To reduce the risks, you should be regularly getting up and about for short periods throughout the day – which can be better for you than just a 30 minute workout. So interrupt sitting whenever you can by stretching, walking around or simply marching on the spot for a few minutes.

Prevention is Better than Cure

Don’t panic after reading this article and become convinced you’re going to die a horrible death thanks to your job! I wrote this to enlighten you of the effects certain aspects of our jobs can have on our health.

The saying is prevention is better than cure, and sitting disease and eye problems caused by working in an office based environment can be beaten by taking simple steps to change your everyday habits and become more active during your working day.

The dangers of a sedentary lifestyle affect us all, whether we’re a full time affiliate, one of the Twist team working at Twist HQ, or an affiliate who works a full time office job during the day before spending every evening sitting down doing affiliate marketing.

So make a pledge to improve your health today. Take regular breaks to get up and walk around, go out for a walk on your lunch instead of eating at your desk, try standing while you work instead of sitting, or do some jumping jacks! Every little thing helps, so try to be mobile throughout your day (and no, that doesn’t mean using your mobile phone instead of your PC!).

You can’t change your work, but you can change the way you work.