NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Treat Your Body like a Computer

Treat Your Body like a Computer


            Clemson University faculty, Janis G. Hunter, Nutrition Specialist, and Katherine L. Cason, Professor, Department of Food and Nutrition recently authored an article that is simply too good to not share.  Below, please enjoy a portion of their take on our bodies as computers!

             Have you ever compared your body to a computer? Both need daily care and maintenance to improve their performance and keep them from “crashing.”  When your body takes longer to “start,” runs slower or receives “error” messages, put these computer trouble-shooting tips into action for a fresh start.

            Keep Your Anti-Virus Software Up-to-Date & Running

Practice a healthy lifestyle to make yourself less susceptible to every “bug” that comes along. Preventing an illness costs less in both money and time than getting sick.

Here are four important ways to take control of your health.

  • Eat healthfully.
  • Get up and get moving.
  • Sleep peacefully at least 7 hours every night.
  • Reduce stress in your life.

To eat healthfully, consume a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and lean protein foods (fish, beans, peas, nuts, lean meats, poultry and eggs). Be physically active every day to reduce risk for diseases (e.g. heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer). Adults should get two hours and 30 minutes or more a week of activity that requires moderate effort, such as brisk walking. Children and teens should get one hour or more every day.

            Shut Down Some Programs

Do one thing at a time. Multi-tasking may cause you to accomplish less, especially if the jobs are complex. When switching from task to task, you can’t pay attention to everything around you at the same time, according to researcher Dr. Earl Miller, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. If you must multi-task, combine an easy task with one that demands more input from your system. Instead of taking phone calls, listen to music while cooking dinner. Or, watch TV while working out on the treadmill.

            Remove Unneeded Files & Programs

Unneeded files and programs can slow down your overall performance. Drop your membership in any club or organization that no longer meets your needs or interests, and use that time to do something more meaningful. Do a job only as thoroughly as it needs to be done. Why iron the whole shirt when only the collar will show under your sweater?

            Recharge Your Battery

In Stephen Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic, “sharpen the saw” is Habit #7. Covey tells the story of a man in the woods trying to saw down a tree. For several hours the woodcutter saws feverishly and will not take a break to sharpen his saw. The blade becomes duller and duller, making the job take longer than it should and reducing his productivity.

Get into the habit of taking breaks to “sharpen your saw” or “recharge your battery.” This prevents exhaustion, improves your performance and renews your body.

            Hit “Escape,” “Undo” or “Delete”

Give yourself the same options with your life that you have with your computer. If you change your mind about a decision, hit “escape,” “undo” or “delete.” Instead of always saying “yes” when asked to help, give one of these explanations, regardless of how busy you are.

  • “I’m sorry, but I’m not available that night.” Or, “I have another commitment for that time.”


Put this advice into action, seeking help from your doctor or other health care professional if necessary. After trouble-shooting your body’s personal system, consider making some permanent changes to prevent “crashing.” Get a fresh start and enjoy the benefits, including improved performance!

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