6 Ways to Start Getting Physically Fit as a Coder
Fitness is important. Period. Having a decent amount of endurance and strength benefits you in a lot of ways. You need less sleep, you become better at concentrating on your tasks, you’ll get more creative, fitness lowers your back pain, makes you healthy of course and perhaps most importantly you will be happy more often.
I’m not talking about going to the gym every day and getting muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger or preparing for the next marathon. This is for the beginners or the coders that have real problems to start doing anything at all. Shall we?
Yeah, I don’t like it, too. Vacuum cleaning, doing the dishes, cleaning the toilet, gosh. But chances are, you might sweat a little when you’re doing these ungrateful tasks. That’s awesome! And seriously, these tasks aren’t that ungrateful at all, are they? At least your personal living space is clean and you might feel a bit better. Plus, you’re getting off your desk and are moving your body. That’s everything you need to start getting fit.
Going for a walk
As mentioned above I’m not talking about pushing yourself to the limits and getting a biceps like Leon from Resident Evil. Going for walks is a great start to keep your body moving and getting fit slowly but steady. Be honest. When you come home from your job (or you’re done for today when you’re working from home) what’s the next thing you’re doing? Putting your bag aside and leaving the house again or do you grab a pizza and a beer, chill out on the couch and watch TV? Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing too bad with the latter, but it’s very likely you hardly moved your body the whole day. Not good. Sitting all day long is actually killing you to sound a bit extreme. So I highly recommend going for a 30-minute walk every two days.
And if you’re really getting into it, I also recommend going on hikes.
Leave the car
Do you have to commute to work? This is obviously not for everyone, but if your way to work or your grocery store is not that long, you might think about going there by foot or by bike. That way you actually save time, because you don’t need to go for a walk in the evening. Unless you want to, of course.
Any kind of fitness tracker like the ones from Fitbit, Garmin, any Smartwatch, whatever, is a great way to push yourself and get out. And while doing so this little gadget informs you about your pulse and saves all kinds of statistics about your activities. Admit it, you’re a tech person, you love statistic analyses. If you still don’t want that gadget you can start to download one of the bazillions of pedometer apps for your smartphone.
Another perfect way to keep yourself moving is a hobby where you have to get outside. Again I’m not talking about the sporty stuff like going to basketball matches every now and then with strangers you don’t like and don’t want to get to know. I’m talking about stuff you could do completely by yourself – or with a friend (or spouse) if you want to. I already mentioned hiking. In essence, these are longer walks but can evolve into adventurous experiences. Climbing a summit, watching a marvelous sunset over the lake or watching wildlife on your doorstep not only benefits your body but also your mind.
And while you’re already outside you could also try photography as a new hobby. Capturing the sunset or wildlife is very satisfying and you’ll focus on something completely different from programming. Great!
Okay, now it’s getting a bit harder. If you’re already moving now and then and want to increase your fitness level, you can start to work out a bit, of course. One of the best exercises to grow some muscles are push-ups. Do as much as you can every two days and after a month you will definitely see results – and so do the girls (or guys). If that’s still not enough, you might want to create a proper workout plan or join the gym. But that’s for another post.
And don’t worry if you can’t do one single push-up. Try one with your knees on the ground. If that’s still too hard, do push-ups against the wall or a chair. With time you will be able to get lower and eventually you’ll succeed with your first complete push-up. From then on, you’ll never want to go back.