By July 12, 2019

How To Break Free From the Sedentary Lifestyle in Programming Jobs

Have you ever, while coding at your desk, noticed your protruding belly and tried to hide it? Does your mind come up with explanations like:

“I am in a programming job, I have to sit a lot, just like in every desk job.”

“So, what? Every programmer has to face this. You can’t expect me to do pushups while coding.”

How many times do you try to convince yourself with such excuses? I would guess, almost every day!

It’s a common notion that when you are confined to desk jobs—in our case, programming jobs—it may not be easy to lose weight or that it is natural to be out of shape. However, this isn’t true.

Many regard sitting all day as something trivial and feel that a sedentary lifestyle is not going to impact health. However, the truth is that a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of a number of diseases. Take a look at the image below:

Yes, it is true that every programming job needs you to be at your desk for many hours a day. However, this does not mean that you should let it weigh (pardon the pun) on your health. 

Now that you know the risks associated with a sedentary job, it’s time that you pull up your socks and program your way to a healthy lifestyle.

This blog post will not offer the usual tips given to people with sedentary jobs, such as taking a walk around the building every hour or getting up every 20 minutes. 

This is because many programmers find these tips to be interfering with their jobs and not letting them hit their programming targets. Sometimes, they don’t feel motivated enough during work hours to get up for a bit of exercise.

And so, in this post I choose to focus on creating an overall healthy lifestyle that doesn’t let your job interfere with your health. Let’s get started!

Keep a Positive Mental Attitude

The first thing needed to begin any change in life is determination. You should have a positive and purposeful mental attitude toward maintaining your health. Make physical activity a priority rather than an option. This is what will push you toward adopting healthy lifestyle habits. 

Instead of a laid back and complacent attitude, you should be ready to combat the effects of the sedentary nature of your job. You should believe that you can still be healthy and it is not OK to be out of shape, even though your job demands you to sit most of the hours. 

Furthermore, you should also acknowledge the fact that sedentary lifestyles lead to illnesses that may not let you enjoy your life to the fullest.

This will help you take a proactive approach toward your health and easily motivate you to follow the remaining tips of this post.

Remain Active During Nonworking Hours

If you work five days a week, say, for around 12 hours, you still have four active hours per day if you deduct eight hours of sleep.

On the weekends, again assuming you sleep eight hours per night, you have 16 hours per day in which you have the opportunity to be active, or 32 for the whole weekend. 

It’s during these free hours that you can adopt the best practices to keep fit. Of course, buying a gym membership or going swimming, hiking, cycling, or running are some of the basic endeavors you can adopt, but there are ways to make sure you don’t burn out on exercise. 

For instance, instead of continuously watching TV or relaxing on the couch, you can saunter around your house during commercial breaks or find another, more active way to have fun. My point is you can opt for activities that make you physically move. 

Need more ideas? Here are 15 great ones:

15 Ways to Jump Back Into Shape

  1. Schedule walks around your city with friends. 
  2. Walk to the grocery store instead of taking the car.
  3. Forget that there’s an elevator in your office premises or apartment.
  4. Dance till you are out of breath during weekend parties.
  5. Practice gardening—water your plants, sow new saplings, clear dry leaves, trim the trees, etc. Don’t have a garden? Why not walk to the nearest nursery to buy a flower pot?
  6. Keep that laptop or tablet (and even your phone) away from your eyes. They tend to keep you stuck to the couch. 
  7. Come out of the online world. Live an active social life. Keep a group of friends whom you can meet (physically) on weekends and hang out with.
  8. Seek activities that make you stand, walk, or run.
  9. I may be encroaching on your personal life here, but date someone who has an active lifestyle. According to motivational speaker Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” A lethargic partner will woo you into lingering in your comfy bed, whereas an energetic one will push you to jog your way to the gym. If you are already married, well, go for a stroll every day with your partner instead of loitering around the house.
  10. Make your health a priority over earning that extra cash over the weekend on freelance projects.
  11. Switch on the stereo, and turn on some rock music the moment you are back at home. This will keep you on your toes.
  12. Go for DIY (Do It Yourself) instead of dialing up repair services. Fix that car, replace bicycle tires, and make sure all electronic equipment is up and working!
  13. If possible, opt for public transport to commute to your workplace. 
  14. Make it a rule of life: No snacks on the desk. You will save your body from a great deal of junk, and also get your butt moving to grab that healthy snack from the kitchen or snack bar!
  15. Best of all and my favorite: Remain hydrated to keep ambling to the john.

Use Technology

It is true that technology has contributed to less physical activity, but it is also a fact that the way you use it largely determines its impact. There’s a lot that technology can do to contribute to your health, and If you use it in this way, you will find your fitness levels spiraling up. 

This is how you can make technology your health mentor:

  1. Download and USE fitness apps that may motivate you to follow a fitness regimen and eat a healthy diet. There are a number of fitness apps that cover different aspects, including fitness motivation, diet, nutrition, healthy habits, fitness goals, and health tips. You can go for the one that makes you stick to your healthy habits.
  2. Invest in a smart health watch that keeps you updated about your health and activity levels.
  3. Share your fitness goals on social media (Yes, it works! ☺). It will make you more accountable and help you remain inspired.
  4. Ask Alexa or Siri to remind you frequently of the need to keep physically moving. I bet a human-like voice works much better than your alarm tone.

Technology, as so many other things, is just a tool. Use it poorly, and you will have to face the consequences. Use it smartly, and you can reap the benefits. 

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is no different. In a way, it’s quite poetic: You use technology to overcome the health issues created by the physical confinement brought on by technology. 

Better Health Means Being a Better Programmer

It all begins with attitude. You need to take a serious approach toward improving your existing health levels, despite the fact that you have to remain glued to your desk for most of the day. 

Being physically fit not only gives your fitness a boost and keeps illnesses away, but it also keeps you mentally alert. This might surprise you, but I’ve discovered that improved fitness enhances programming ability. It helps you be in an active state of mind, which paves your way through complex codes. 

Never mind if you cannot follow an exercise routine. Adopting habits that make you physically energetic can offset the setbacks of a sedentary lifestyle.

So, what are you sitting for? Recode your routine today with these immensely impactful tips!

Share your experiences and opinions in the comment section below.

About the author

Ankit Patel

Ankit Patel is a Marketing/Project Manager at XongoLab Technologies LLP and PeppyOcean, which are offering top-notch mobile app development solutions globally. During free time, he loves to write about new & upcoming technologies, web & mobile, programming, and marketing. His write-ups have been published on popular platforms like TechTarget, SmallBizDaily, JaxEnter, Social-Hire, TorqueMag, and many more.