A case for exercise
It's no surprise that there is a direct correlation between sitting at a desk/computer for an extended period of time and the affect that it can have on your body. Numerous studies and reports have been published about how a lack of exercise can affect your lifespan as well as your mental condition. I do my best to keep active and ensure that my physical health is as good as my mental health. This isn't always achievable, and there are lots of hinderances that can get in the way. Family, the weather, a sudden sickness, project deadlines, promises to be kept, the alignment of the planets, pets wanting to cuddle, there are a number of excuses that are used to justify not taking 30-60 minutes a day to improve your physical condition.
According to Health.gov, there are a number of things that regular exercise helps improve when it comes to your mentality:
- Reduces anxiety 😰
- Reduces depression 😔
- Improves sleep 😴
- Improves brain health and overall cognitive function
- Think more good 🧠
- Manages stress 🤬
Basically, aside from it being a stress reliever, it can help prepare your for the obstacles that are yet to come, as well as put you into a state of mind to handle it from a clearer perspective. The best part is, it doesn't take much to accomplish this. Even a short walk can help clear your mind and help you complete the task that has been plaquing you for the past hour. The benefits of exercise and fitness enhance not only your physical qualities, but make you a more competitive developer.
What a basic routine looks like
There are plenty of routines, courses, and methodologies out there for whatever kind of fitness intrigues you. For me, I like to stick to weight training with some swimming when I can. Growing up, I was a bit of a natural athlete. Being a lifeguard for 7 years also helped keep me in shape as I grew older, but as I cemented myself into my career, finding the time for exercise has been fleeting to say the least. It's become necessary for me to MAKE the time to exercise and better myself.
My current preference for exercise is in the morning, about an hour after I wake and well before I've had a cup or two of coffee. Given my current employer and work schedule, however, that proves to be difficult for me as I'm also not much of a morning person. I will work in a 30-minute walk after my morning meetings, and will do my weight training in the early evening. As for what I train and when, I try to go with the Push-Pull-Legs routine (PPL). However, to coordinate proper rest and group sets, I adjust it to a Legs-Push-Pull routine instead.
If you're looking for some basic exercises, or aren't sure where to start when it comes to a weight training routine, there are essentially 6 common exercises that work your entire body. Those exercises are as follows:
- Bench Press (or push ups)
- Lat Pulldowns (or pull ups)
- Barbell Rows (or inverted rows)
- Overhead Press
If you only do those 6 exercises, doing 3 sets at 10 reps each set, at least 3 times a week, then you will have a good, basic exercise routine. To add to that, doing a 5-6 minute ab routine after your set, or on your days off will also help you in maintaining your body.
Where developers should focus
As developers, we create weaknesses in certain areas due to the nature of our work. Hunching over chairs, looking at screens, sitting all day, each of these activities (for lack of a better term) causes muscles to weaken, and tendons to shorten in length. This shortness in the tendons in particular creates posture imbalances and possibly further risk of injury should you decide to move a certain way. In general, this can be broken down into 3 different muscle groups:
- Core (abs)
These muscle groups can be simplified even further to the posterior chain. The lack of exercise from pulling motions, or even general walking, is the lead cause of most developers physical misgivings. The lack of standing weakens the core, since we are not engaging it while we are sitting. All of these elements combined create the all too familiar curve in posture that are seen from those who are in this industry.
My equipment and motivation
As I continue through my own training, I try to stay up to date and follow certain people to help keep me motivated, as well as keep my diet in check. Here are a few YouTube channels that I recommend for training:
Along with things that inspire me, I also have some fitness equipment that is just plain fun. Here's some of the equipment that I currently have and might interest you:
- Fringe Sport Fitness Sword/Mace
- Weighted swords that are shaped like a katana, medium weight fantasy sword, and heavy weight fantasy sword.
- Great for upper body conditioning, core strength, and shoulder mobility.
- Fitness Reality Squat Rack
- Great for doing squats, bench press, barbell rows, and pull ups.
- Supports a large amount of weight, while being lightweight itself.
- Gives me the freedom to workout without a partner while still remaining safe.
- TRIBE Resistance Band Set
- 5 different color/weight resistance bands
- Great for traveling or introduction into resistance/weight training.
- Comfortable handles and accessories to use doorframes for additional exercises.
I enjoy exercising. Aside from the feel good chemicals that rush through my body, it's equivalent to getting that one project done for the day and just making you feel like you've accomplished something. Above everything else, it makes it to where you can eat almost anything without too much regret. From my experience, exercise has helped me in my development career without fail. I may be sore a few times, or pull a muscle here and there. I would rather have a small amount of discomfort from something that helped me accomplish a goal rather than remain stuck and frustrated. There's a reason why stagnation is frowned upon, and is used as a negative adjective when used as a describer. As developers, if we want to remain fresh and malleable in our work environments, then we need to be able to experience multiple disciplines that are in and out of our workspaces.
Published Wednesda, November 9, 2022