Four Health Essentials for Programmers in 2011

December 30, 2010

Four Health Essentials for Programmers in 2011

The New Year is fast approaching and it’s that time when we begin to put together a list of resolutions.

Seeing as we spend most of our lives glued to our chairs, there’s a good chance that many of our resolutions will revolves around health and fitness.

Last year I was in exactly the same position. I was desperate to get active but I didn’t know where to start.

I tried running… and hated it.

I tried to get back into cycling… and lost interest.

I joined a gym… and left immediately.

Sound familiar?

Then I realised it didn’t have to be so hard.

By July 2010, I was pretty fed up.

I didn’t have a clue about what was healthy and what wasn’t. Then, I got lucky and stumbled across British Military Fitness. It was the kick start I needed and I dived head first into the challenge.

I learned a lot in 2010 and got into the best shape in my life, a huge change from 2009. The lucky thing is it’s actually pretty easy. There’s not a lot too do, despite what many fitness ‘experts’ will tell you.

Here are four things that are essential if you want to change your life in 2011

Move more
Programming is addictive.

There’s always one more bug to fix, one more feature to implement and one more hour to work.

It can be rewarding but it can also be detrimental to our health.

Here are just a few of the problems:

  • Our backs suffer because we sit for long periods
  • Our eyes suffer because we spend too long reading screens
  • We get soreness and stiffness from a general lack of stretching & mobility.

Many people think the solution to this is to start running but let’s be honest, unless you’re nuts, running is boring so you’re unlikely to stick to it! It’s also inefficient and ineffective when it comes to fat loss, but more of that later!

For now, know that it’s enough to move more. Just get active. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, at least not in the beginning. Walk more around the office. Walk to work if you can, or just get out at lunch and wander around the block. You won’t miss anything and you’ll even avoid that 3pm to 4pm slump we all know so well.

Relax more
There’s always another deadline to worry about, or new blog posts to read.

The fact that the programming community never stops advancing is both a blessing and a curse. It takes a big commitment to stay ahead of the curve and it often feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day.

Taking time out is one of the greatest things you can do to benefit your life and your work.

Find something that makes you feel relaxed and do it.

Do it often.

Different things work for different people.

For me, it’s sticking in my earphones and lying down for twenty minutes. Some people walk, some people read, some take a bath. Take the time to find what works for you and add it into your daily routine.

Eat less
The hours we work mean we’re often in the office early, grabbing breakfast on the way in.

Then we take a late lunch, heading to McDonalds for a Big Mac and Fries.

If there’s work to be done, you’ll often continue well into the evening and stick a pizza in when you get home.

Not good.

Sit down once a week to plan your meals for the week ahead.

I know, this sounds incredibly dull but not doing this can become a huge problem.

Knowing what you’re going to eat and when means you’re more likely to stick to the good stuff.

You won’t need to head out at lunch to go to McDonalds because you’ll have planned ahead and brought proper food in to eat.

Portion sizes are also something to be aware of. You don’t need to be accurate. Just be conscious of the fact that a half-sized portion is just as likely to leave you feeling satisfied as a huge serving is.

Do more
I was talking to somebody the other day and it was like talking to myself twelve months ago. Basically, the guy was saying his time to get healthy had passed as he was getting on a bit.

He was 26!

What’s that all about?!

Get this, you’ll never be younger than you are right now!

If you’re not in the shape you want to be, now is the time to start doing something about it.

If you’re not the weight you want to be, now is the time to start doing something about it.

It’s never too late but start now, don’t waste your time.

Just give it a go. You’ll feel great, you’ll look great and your work will improve massively.

There’s just one day to go until your best year ever! Get crackin’!

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Photo by pasotraspaso

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