Health Problems of Artists– Symptoms and Preventions

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  06 June 2013
Running every other day will do you a lot of good. It's not cancelled by sitting all day. Sitting all day will still do damage even if you have a solid cardio routine though. You have to take care of both, that's what pretty much every half clued research has been spelling out loud for a while.
Of course between someone who has no training regime whatsoever AND sits all day, and you, you're way better off.
Come, Join the Cult - Rigging from First Principles
  06 June 2013
Exercise, eat well, get up often and walk around when at the office, get fresh air, keep things positive even when their are problems at work, drink tea, and take vacations. Oh, and drink lots of water everyday.
  06 June 2013
Get yourself a standing desk. They are becoming a lot more common in our office with around 40% of people using one. Negotiate it in your contract that you want one, so you don't have to put up with that HR "we need a doctors note bullshit" to give you a standing desk.

  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by MGernot: I wholeheartedly agree with you on that. I do the same, runnig for ~10km every 2nd day and
i use the bike for almost everything.
And i should have the same health risk than some couch-potato? I don`t think so...

The paragraph I quoted, taken out of context, might give the wrong impression, but the article definitely isn't saying vigorous exercise is useless. For the study, they controlled for weight and blood pressure. Regular vigorous exercise certainly helps with maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure, which have well-established health benefits. However, if you compare two people who superficially appear to be in similar shape, the one who spends most of their day sitting is going to have far more health problems than the one who spends most of their day doing light exercise, even if the sitting person spends more time on vigorous exercise.

In short, combined bursts of vigorous exercise+lots of light exercise>just lots of light exercise>just bursts of vigorous exercise>small amounts of light exercise>no exercise.
  06 June 2013
Carpal Tunnel

One of the big issues I have heard of is carpal tunnel. This can be corrected by ergonomics and certain stretches. I like to use Blender for everything it can do just as well as the industry software because the UI distributes clicking more evenly between the fingers to prevent carpal tunnel.
  06 June 2013
Having worked in an advertisement agency, I notice a lot of these are nearly impossible to fix without becoming the "lazy" asshole that pushes their workload on the other co-workers.
When you work 14-16 hours a day for 5 days straight, and you are encouraged to work the weekend as well, exercise is the last thing on your mind. You feel like you're in a meat grinder.
When you're done working you just want to eat a decent meal and unwind some before getting to bed.
Then you have 3 months like that, and the lifestyle habits get harder and harder to maintain.
And then all of a sudden you get slow days where you don't have to work extra. Then, after relaxing a little, you get to exercises.

I've tried using a standing desk, but, personally, I just got dizzy and nauseous when standing. I remember some of my other co-workers having similar issues with them. Oddly enough the most hard-working ones.
That said I bet they are great if you can use them. I would recommend at least trying it.

As for preventing RSI and still being decently productive, you can learn to use the mouse in the other hand, and type with one hand every now and then.

In the advertisement industry you definitely can't plan and keep a schedule.
  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by LadyMedusa: Having worked in an advertisement agency, I notice a lot of these are nearly impossible to fix without becoming the "lazy" asshole that pushes their workload on the other co-workers.
When you work 14-16 hours a day for 5 days straight, and you are encouraged to work the weekend as well, exercise is the last thing on your mind. You feel like you're in a meat grinder.

I realize it can be hard to justify to co-workers and bosses, but I think most people will get more work done working 13.5 hours and spending half an hour on exercise than if they do 14 hours of work with no exercise. I certainly know my productivity plummets if I go more than a day without at least light exercise.
  06 June 2013
Sorry, but you are asked to work 16h straight a day 5 days a week, with a salting of w/e OT, without being able to take a couple hours off for a gym/meal break every other day lest you are looked at as dead weight?
I hope you live right above your office, otherwise you're also well on your way to sleep deprivation on the side of the complete annihilation of your personal life.
It's also sort of unheard of feeling dizzy for a standing desk, unless your pressure and general metabolism have truly gone to shit. You should consider blood and GP exams.

Do smokers have to work the extra hour to cover for their breaks? If not you can at least take the same 5 minutes every two hours to do some walking and active stretching.

You have something else to fix for your health before you look at your posture though.

Despite the horror stories that kind of hours coupled with a peer pressure to not take breaks even in such a work stretch aren't common even on most of the worse projects in the film VFX industry.
I haven't worked in advertising in ages either, but my friends that do are nowhere near that level of masochism even on the worst crunch on the worst campaigns, not for longer than the odd week or two every few months at least.
Come, Join the Cult - Rigging from First Principles
  06 June 2013
Hey guys,

This is my first post from my new standing desk at home! I used a printer stand for my TV, and used some barrels and leftover shelves to fashion a keyboard/mouse/extra monitor stand. Hopefully not having any pressure on my wrist will help clear up some minor carpal tunnel. Just after doing some reading for an hour, I can say that it does really help. I've got a bar stool if I want to sit down.

I've been thinking about making the change for a while now, but reading some of the stuff in this thread finally convinced me to change things up. So thanks everyone!

Keyboard is a little low though, so Ill need to fix that.

  06 June 2013
Same here, raised my desk up as high as it can go, added a few boxes and now I'm trying out my makeshift standing desk for a while. If I end up liking it, I'll build a more permanent/proper solution and pick up a stool.
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  06 June 2013
I've been using a standing desk for about a year now so I thought I'd list some pros and cons...


  • My back is waaay more flexible at the end of the day.
  • I'm more focused, simply because standing in one place for recreation isn't all the comfortable.
  • Agility: I can walk around to think, shift my position, and I've even caught myself dancing a bit (tastefully) if I'm listening to the right music while I work.
  • Viewing angle: It's hard to explain but because I also use an arm for my monitor, I can get it nice and close, meaning I don't have to lean in to see minute details. Windows also has a built in magnifier if you press the windows key and + together.
  • Drawing on a tablet is infinitely more comfortable, especially if you have a traditional background. This is something everyone should at least try.
  • Just because you're standing doesn't mean your body wont compress after a while, it just does so in a different way. Instead of getting up every few hours, you'll want to sit down. Walking helps as well.
  • The act of standing can be a deterrent for getting to work, especially when it involves getting out of your nice comfy chair.
  • Standing becomes a distraction during crunch times. When you've been working all day and there's three more hours to go, sometimes you really just want to SIT and finish up.
Overall I highly suggest it, but you'll probably want a sitting contingency as well. If you can afford a desk that lets you adjust the height without disassembling it, that's definitely the way to go. There was one point where, out of fatigue and frustration, I switched my desk back to a sitting position (I use an adjustable art desk) and within 15 minutes I switched it back because standing is now that much more comfortable.

edit: Sorry for the awful formatting.

Last edited by talljon : 06 June 2013 at 11:17 PM.
  06 June 2013
For the RSI, i abandoned the mouse in favor of the wacom a long time ago. As im sure most people on this forum have. Anytime i changed jobs if the employer didnt have a wacom i brought my own from home and would insist on equipping the rest of the artists with them. As far as the sitting/standing issue..i really think a good portion of employers do not see the future health risks of prolonged "sitting" in a chair. They should strive to either use standing workstations (Talljon made some excellent pros and cons regarding this) or spend some money on proper chairs and desks that can help reduce the risk.
  06 June 2013
I'm an artist and massage instructor/practitioner and have worked on lots of desk jockeys over the years and I see the same thing over and over. In Chinese Med they call it the Gail Bladder Meridian. Of course all the energy channels are connected to some degree, but by releasing the days tension with some simple self massage you can prevent tension from building up and pulling something out a wack, like the spine. Tension is like plaque on your teeth. Basically if you regularly release this tension then chronic stuff won't occur.

I've started teaching self massage, cause I feel it's the best solution if people are willing to stick with it and learn.

I see a big saver for us desk jockeys are tablets. I can use my iPad for work sometimes and I can work longer cause I can constantly moved around and switch positions.

If there was a 20 inch iPad thingy I'd be using my it for everything and use a VNC type thing to do my thing.

Touch screen as well seems to help more then pen tablets for longer work sessions. The mouse just plain hurts after a few hours.
  06 June 2013
Well the human beeing is made to run and walk. Not to sit hours in a same position like a concrete statue.
You really have to take care of your health even if you are now a young artist and your body shows no problems.

I do CrossFit workouts and kick-boxing beside my work. Around four times a week. With first I got an good overall fitness and muscles get strong. Second sport includes a lot of endurance and stretching.
Everyone should "invest" this hour a day into his body in my opinion. You don't have to be too picky with your food then and Pizza or Kebap is still okay without gaining weight.
Not a fan of any kind of diet.
Pure3D Visualisierungen
  06 June 2013
Originally Posted by LadyMedusa: When you work 14-16 hours a day for 5 days straight, and you are encouraged to work the weekend as well, exercise is the last thing on your mind. You feel like you're in a meat grinder.
When you're done working you just want to eat a decent meal and unwind some before getting to bed.

Yeah I have had my stint working for the ad world and it can be tough. Especially when you are starting out. One good thing is it is easier to get a job when you have one so in the beginning I always switched about every one to two years finding better places.

Now in my old age I am lucky to be a freelancer and work from home so I can skate 20km a day and just started cross training daily as well and that makes a huge difference. The physical exercise is going to lower your stress and 15mins of meditation also works wonders. As an ex smoker and fast food fan (luved dem pizzas!) I never felt as good as I do now and being fitter seems to help my concentration to boot. All the activity doesnt seem to make me any more pretty, but what the heck you are as jazzy as you feel right?
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