The challenges facing the world today demand the future torch bearers be healthy and health conscious.
Our lifestyle is starkly different today than it was a decade ago. There is more competition in the workplace with more mental and physical stress on us to meet deadlines and targets at work, study and even in our social lives. As a father of two grown-ups, I realize that they have lesser time available for recreation, relaxation and rest along with an increasingly and alarming hasty attitude towards healthy eating and exercise. To make things even worse, there is lesser knowledge about the correct methods of use of gadgets like a computer mouse and keyboard and about correct postures. I wonder if any students actually follow the guidelines of “ergonomics”. Even during sports, we hardly pay attention to technique, safety gear or proper footwear. Improper eating habits and more and more inclination towards junk food affects our health and adds unnecessary weight on us and lack of rest and sleep wears us down.
As an orthopedic surgeon, I am increasingly seeing more and more college and university students complaining of a condition called repetitive stress disorder or chronic fatigue syndrome. These conditions, which were unheard of in the last decade, imply that incorrect posture of sitting with long hours of repeated and sustained work or study, in particular with a mouse, keyboard and monitor, can cause damage to the muscles, tendons, nerves and other soft tissue structures, causing common conditions like neck strains, lumbago, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
The good news is that these conditions are all easily treatable by an orthopedic specialist who will advise you regarding ergonomics and correct postures. You may require anti-inflammatory medication and physiotherapy. Occasionally, conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis may require minor surgeries. It is always better to consult the doctor as early as possible.
As the old proverb goes “Prevention is better than Cure”, this is easily achievable with correct postures, periods of rest and stretching exercises during study and above all, staying fit with regular exercise routines and healthy dietary habits. We must find some time for ourselves, too. Relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing exercises, swimming, sauna and massage also help to unwind and prepare us for the tough days ahead.