Tips for the Healthy Programmer
You don’t know what you have until you lose it. We all know what it means, but we often forget that it also applies to our health.
While programming isn't considered a dangerous occupation with a lot of hazards, a surprising number of developers suffer from health issues. Sitting at a desk won't kill you, but studies have shown that it isn't as healthy as you might think. Luckily, it's surprisingly easy to make some changes with very little effort.
Even though this is probably the most obvious tip from the list, getting exercise on a regular basis is something that many developers tend to forget—or ignore. There's no need to become the next Ironman, but doing some form of exercise has a number of benefits that will keep you healthy, fit, and focused.
Sleep is something that your body needs to recover from the previous day and stay fit. The body uses this time of inactivity reboot your brains and repair any damage you incurred during the day. Studies have shown that getting enough sleep significantly boosts your focus during the day, improves your immune system, and even enhances your memory.
Bad posture is a common problem these days. Even if you're office is equipped with comfortable, ergonomic chairs and desks, it's important to be conscious of your posture. It may seem unimportant when you're in your twenties, but the number of young people suffering from chronic injuries caused by bad posture is alarming—and climbing.
A common misconception is that caffeine is fuel for your body. Even though most energy drinks are high in calories, caffeine itself doesn't contain any calories. Caffeine is nothing more than a molecule that interacts directly with your central nervous system.
Caffeine is addictive and it's all too easy to relapse into drinking coffee when you need that bit of extra energy. But why would you want to cut out caffeine? The most important benefit is that you will sleep much, much better. Another major benefit is that you are no longer dependent on caffeine to function. Do you need extra energy? Go for a run. You'll be surprised by the amount of energy you get from something as simple as a five mile run.
It goes without saying that a healthy diet is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. That doesn't mean that you can't have a snack or that you need to cut out everything from your diet that's unhealthy. It simply means being conscious of what you eat and when you eat it. That simple act can make a world of difference.
there are times that you need to disconnect, put your computer aside, turn off your phone, and disconnect from the internet. It's a wonderful feeling to leave your smart devices at home and go for a walk in the woods or in the park. Your mind will thank you for it.
Enjoy your surroundings and, more importantly, the feeling that nobody will call or text you. Some of us or so hooked to being connected with the world that they feel anxious if their smartphone isn't within arm's reach. If that's you, then this may be an early warning bell that it's time to step back, even if it's only for ten or fifteen minutes.