Posted on: 22 Jul 2016
Tips on Staying Fit for Software Developers
Top 7 Fitness and Health Tips for Software Engineers.
Most software developers clock anywhere between 13 to 16 hours workday. Most of this time is spent coding while sitting in front of the computers. As if this wasn’t unhealthy enough, add to this the fact that many of them skip their breakfast and binge on junk food while at work. After all, if you have to stay up till late in the night, you need sugar and caffeine running in your blood to keep you all pumped! Besides, these long hours also translate as less rest time. All these factors combined together add up to a pretty unhealthy lifestyle. If all these or even if only a couple of these apply to you, read on, for there are some things that you can do to stay fit despite such a punishing routine.
1. Eat healthily
Packaged snacks are high in calories, so avoid them totally. Choose to eat healthy instead. Include fresh fruits and salads in your diet and ensure that they constitute a major chunk of the meals you eat. When the sugar craving hits, plunge on some fruit instead of a bar of chocolate. Say no to soft drinks and packed juices and instead consume fresh lemonade or coconut water. More than the food you eat, it is the time at which you eat that matters. So eat small meals at regular intervals. Keep a can of nuts on the desk so you can pop in a few as a snack when hunger strikes at odd hours.
2. Don’t eat at your desk
Always move out of the cubicle or the office space to have lunch. Do not try to multitask, for instance surfing the web while eating. Instead, use this time to get in some fresh air and sunshine and move around to get the blood circulation in your legs going. Eat slowly so that the brain can register what all you are eating and you can derive satisfaction from it (Psst.. this makes you feel fuller and you end up eating less!). If there is enough time, you can go to a nearby park or open space and take a quick walk. This will not only get the body moving but will also calm the mind.
3. Stay Hydrated
Most offices are centrally air conditioned and that affects the consumption of water. Sometimes, it’s the thirst that’s mistaken for hunger. So always keep a 1-liter bottle of water on your desk and refill it whenever it gets empty. This will help you to take a water break which means you’ll be getting up from the chair more often. If you have trouble remembering to drink water, you could program the reminder to pop in every 20 minutes on your screen! Or you can download apps like Daily Water Free (iOS), Water Drink Reminder (Android), and Water Alert (iOS) that’ll remind you to take water at regular intervals.
4. Take Ample Rest
The body recharges itself while you are asleep. So it is important for you to take adequate rest. This will ensure that you are physically and mentally fresh to take on the challenges at work the next day. Inadequate sleep results in decreased efficiency and more errors, something no passionate developer will ever want to happen. Make sure to avoid any screen time (TV, Laptop, Smartphone) at least 2 hours prior to sleeping. Instead of taxing the brain to work overtime, it is a good idea to give it some rest and start afresh early next morning.
For someone who is sitting on a chair for the most part of the day, having the right posture is important. Software developers often complain of back-ache, strain in the eyes, neck, wrist, shoulder and other kinds of pain. All these can be controlled simply with a good posture. Make sure that your chair is comfortable and provides adequate support to your back. Your eyes should be at level with the top of the monitor so that you don’t have to crane the neck much. While working on the keyboard the elbows should be adequately supported. They should ideally rest on the arm of the chair; this takes care of shoulder shrug.
6. Take a break
A day spent in front of the computer coding and debugging is acceptable if it is a one-off incident. For those who spend every day like this, taking a break for as less as 5 minutes can also work wonders. Move about the cubicle or walk up to a colleague for a quick chat. Make sure you take several such breaks in a day.
There is no better way to stay fit than exercising. Join a gym or dance class, or do some video workouts in your free time at home. You could also decide to walk to work or cycle to work depending on the feasibility. Early morning, during the day, or towards the end of the day, workout whenever you get some time. Exercise at any time is welcome.