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Health Effects of Internet Marketing

It may not rank as a killer like heart disease or cancer, but the rush by many to participate in internet marketing could be putting them at risk of developing serious health problems both in the short and the longer term. The aim of this article is to help you avoid those effects and to prosper - painlessly!

In recent years, internet marketing has shot to prominence, both for its obvious successes like Amazon, Last-Minute.com etc and because of its accessibility to ordinary mortals like you and me. However, this accessibility comes at a price. As people who are often holding down a full-time job take on the additional workload of creating an "alternative income", something must, inevitably, give and all too easily it can be your health.

In the early days, the internet seemed to be for big companies with big budgets. Websites would cost thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars to build and the hardware and technical knowledge required to host them was also extensive. Very quickly, however, savvy entrepreneurs realised that this route to market was infinitely less expensive than traditional "bricks and mortar" business. People started piling on the internet bandwaggon in droves and a whole new market sprung up to provise the structures and services they would "need" to build their successful empires.

Internet marketing was born.

Many a fast buck was made in those early days by unscrupulous self-proclaimed "gurus" who promised instant mega-profits for little or no effort, and many fell prey to them. Indeed, such "instant riches" schemes still exist, as they do in more traditional forms of marketing, it is simply just as much easier for the scammer to sell his services in the internet as it is for everyone else!

The very accessibility of internet business has meant that many who would not have otherwise considered setting up for themselves have done so, and it is these inexperienced business people who have become the lifeblood of the "internet marketing" system.

Such people are generally not endowed with family-provided trust funds and have to work for a living. This means that they must hold down a job whilst creating their empire and it is this extra commitment and the time it entails which can lead to health problems.

Some of these health effects are more obvious than others - poor posture, lack of keyboard (and mouse) skills, inappropriate workstations and badly set-up equipment can all have serious effects on the muscles, bones and associated tissues that must support our efforts. Like kids that spend hours on end playing video games, Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) from performing mundane, repetitive tasks such as mouse-clicking in the same position for prolonged periods of time can have disastrous effects on joints and muscles.

Whilst many (though, by no means all) employers now understand the importance of ergonomic workstation design, this is much less likely to be implemented at home - even by those who know better, and a little time take to reorganise your computer desk can generate huge long-term benefits in terms of mobility and pain-free computing.

Similarly, poorly situated monitors, older VDUs and bad video settings can all contribute to eyestrain and even permanent eye-damage. Considered by many to be the most valuable of senses, vision is not to be messed with and the first sign of problems should herald a visit to the opthalmologist post-haste for a check-up. Just having your monitor at the right height, properly located in relation to light sources and correctly set-up can help prevent many of the potential problems and a simple pair of glasses can not only correct for imperfect vision, but reduce glare and reflection-associated strain on the eye muscles.

The fact that many would-be internet marketers take up station at the end of a full working day is also cause for concern. For many, the working day is already far longer and more stressful than ever before, and returning home to even more work can be infinitely more stressful, especially when partners are involved (or rather, NOT involved) and may not understand both the motivation and the time required to generate returns online.

The learning curve can be very steep for internet ventures. Not only is there the requirement to be creative in generating something new and unique, but the technicalities involved can be demanding, even for those with moderate or better computing skills. Web authoring, website promotion and campaign management are all relatively specialized skills that take time and effort to learn, sometimes keeping even the most family conscious internet marketer at the computer until the small hours (and beyond). When you add in the international dimension and emails (and potentially calls) arriving at all hours, the potential for extra stress is considerable.

However, perhaps the biggest danger for would-be internet marketers (and perhaps the easiest to ignore) is the requirement to give the body some appropriate fuel from time to time. Vast numbers of the population (in fact, virtually everyone) are already undernourished (if overfed!) as a result of eating poor quality food with low, if any, nutritional value.

As an example, the US now consumes so little food containing omega-3 fatty acids, which can't be made by the body, that in 25% of the population, blood levels are so low they can't be measured. given that this is a major component of brain and nerve tissue, is it any wonder that psychological and psychiatric "disease" are on the increase?

It is easy to head straight for the computer without considering eating first, then to spend all night there without budging, or worse, snacking on "non-foods" that are a principle cause of all chronic disease today. Few who have seen the film "Supersize me" would be prepared to argue that fast-food is an appropriate form of nutrition, let alone "good for you"! Neither are chips, cakes, pastries, sweets or virtually anything else that comes in a packet, box or cellophane wrapper, and none is a substitute for a healthy, home-prepared and nutritionally diverse meal.

Of course, a further danger of such unhealthy eating, combined with prolonged periods of inactivity is the ever-increasing American waistline. Those who are sat at a computer are (generally speaking, for non-contortionists) not, at that time, physically active. Spending all night online when one could be otherwise engaged exercizing (either alone or with a "partner"!) is unlikely to help you maintain even a current level of fitness, let alone lose weight or get fitter.

Internet marketing is a "softly, softly catchee monkey" game. The trick is to ensure you are still around and able to hold the monkey when he is caught! That means taking responsibility for your health and doing what you can to both maintain and improve it.

Brian Adamson
Natural Health Information Centre
Next article: Physical and mental fitness for internet marketers

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