Article Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

6 Ways to Stay Happy, Healthy as an Online Student


Mar. 4, 2016 US News and World Report

Online students have many advantages. They can control when, where, and how they study in ways that on-ground students cannot. While such convenience is a primary attraction of online learning, students should safeguard health and wellness to encourage good academic performance, longevity and personal happiness.  

The  phrase “sitting is the new smoking” is prevalent in corporate life, with many companies encouraging employees to take frequent short breaks, work while standing, optimize their work environment and engage in a variety of wellness activities. Unfortunately, many college students are at risk for sedentary-related health illnesses. It is especially easy for online students to be more sedentary than on-ground students, as they don’t need to navigate the campus daily, walk far for lunch, wait in lines for any reason or hike the stairs in large academic buildings and dorms.

Experts cite an optimum time of 10 hours per week per online class, and more than 10 hours for each online graduate course . For the typical full-time online student, that can add up to 40 to 50 hours per week of intensive seated screen time.

Common ailments associated with extended computer use include musculoskeletal problems, repetitive stress injury, vision problems, headaches, obesity and stress disorders. In order to remain physically and mentally healthy, prospective online students should consider their work environment and actively aim to reduce any technology-induced health risks. Below are five recommendations to minimize health risks as an online student. 

1. Make sure you have a comfortable workspace: An ergonomically correct chair can adjust to fit your body perfectly. Experts say the correct posture is 90-90-90 – the angle of your back and thighs should be 90 degrees, the angle of your thighs and legs should be 90 degrees, and the angle between your legs and  feet should be 90 degrees. While such chairs are expensive, it’s worth it if it avoids years of pain, needed chiropractic care, pain medication and eventually surgery.

Students can avoid developing carpal tunnel syndrome or other repetitive stress injurues by taking quick health breaks every 30 minutes that include stretching the neck, back, legs, shoulders, ankles and wrists. Some people favor a standing desk. This can be a healthy alternative to sitting if approached properly, intermittently and with excellent posture.

2. Limit screen time before bedtime: Experts say there is significant correlation between screen time and sleep disorders. Never work in bed, and avoid intensive computer work directly before going to bed.

3. Avoid isolation: It is easy for online students to become socially isolated. It is important to human happiness to have authentic and meaningful friendships and relationships with others beyond virtual relationships in online classes and on social media.

Read More on US News and World Report

Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund

Apply Today

All Resources

Tell Me More

A CEO’s Guide to Planning a Return to the Office

Today’s decisions will set the tone for the future.

Read More

Emotional Intelligence Is Key to Strong Leadership

Here’s How to Sharpen Yours

Read More

I Tried 4 To-Do List Methods. Here’s What Worked.

Good advice for starting your next career.

Read More

5 Ways to Improve Diversity Training, According to a New Study

All too often, these programs are ineffective and short-lived. But they don’t have to be.

Read More

Plant-based diets reduce risk of heart disease, dementia, study finds

What does it mean to go plant based?

Read More

How to Deal with a Shockingly Big Utility Bill

Extreme weather can lead to changes in your utility bills. Be patient and take action.

Read More

Long-term, heavy coffee consumption and CVD risk

Too much coffee could take a toll on your heart health.

Read More

Is the Division of Labor Fair in Your Marriage? Here’s How to Figure It Out

Setting expectations about who does what — and adjusting them again and again — is crucial.

Read More