Many programmers would not disagree that programming is not the most physically active vocation or past time. Despite all of the Occupational Health and Safety standards and policies delineating proper posture when typing and the correct height of the computer screen, a majority of us could care less, preferring to slouch, lean forward, put our monitors wherever we want and type regardless of where our keyboards are placed. Programming is a creative pursuit and rigid rules over how we code does not work for all of us.
Our bodies on the other hand are evolution-locked in a past where we needed to climb, run, lift heavy objects and spend a good deal of our day in other kinds of physical activity. To keep coding at our optimum we need to introduce some kind of physical activity into our sedentary programming lives; activity that is either short and intensive or is complementary to our daily routines.
Activities that are complementary to our daily routine are those that we can quite easily incorporate into our travelling to work, sitting at work and lunch breaks. Here are some examples:
- Running or jogging to and from work.
- Skating (skateboards, scooters or rollerblades) to and from work.
- Isometric contractions whilst working at our desk or during a quick break.
Activities that provide short intensive workouts or just plain workouts are:
- Isometric contractions in sets or exercises at 30 seconds each or until muscle failure.
- Power lifting.
- Martial arts like capoeira.
- Modern dance like hip hop, break-dancing or jazz ballet.
My personal routine consists of sets of isometric exercise after or before work and I have a JDBug flexboard scooter which I use to travel to and from work, as well as travelling between buildings to carry out support calls. A good group for isometric training is the Isometrics group at YahooGroups (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Isometrics/) where you will find a lot of old books printed to the internet for download and a good many links. For fun I even incorporated my scooter into my isometric routines, using it as a tool for muscle resistance.
Exercise will increase the effectiveness of our brains to process information and make expedient decisions. For information on the wonderful effects of exercise upon our brain see Steven Gillman’s article Brain Power Through Exercise at http://ezinearticles.com/?Brain-Power-Through-Exercise&id=64370.
With intensive exercise you will discover that the punishment you put yourself through during your exercise routine far outweighs any IT problems you experience throughout the day and that has got to be an incentive!
Senior Software Engineer and Systems Architect.
Tropical Queensland, Australia
(ABN: 33 682 969 957)
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Moderator of http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AccessDevelopers