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Keeping Fit as a Programmer
Apr 14th '16

Keeping Fit as a Programmer

How exercising has affected my comfort at work.


Three years ago I was the fittest and strongest I have ever been. I was on my placement year during University, lived five minutes from where I worked, and was going to the gym four-five times per week. My diet was incredibly strict and aside from the fact that I drank more alcohol than during this working year than the University years combined, my lifestyle couldn't have been better.

Once the year was finished, I returned to University to complete my degree in Computer Science and continued to frequent the gym, albeit not as much, and drink far less. Which to me seemed a bit backwards, but on with the story. Despite spending on the up of 10 hours per day sitting at a computer of some description I wasn't suffering from any discomfort such as back pain; something that course-mates and old workmates regularly complained about. I always put this down to the fact that I had a very strong core as a result of doing (by this point) two solid years of weight training at the gym. Since then I've returned to the same company as a full Graduate and onto a different project situated in a different office more than an hours drive away. This has meant that the time I've been able to dedicate to personal fitness tanked spectacularly and caused me to massively fall out of routine. Within the last six months the amount of discomfort I've suffered (particularly in my back) has went from exactly zero to at least a once per week affair.

If you're in the industry yourself, you'll appreciate how little you actually leave your desk and move around aside from going to make coffee or use the toilet as a result of the coffee and as a result can easily spend extended periods of time sitting in one place. Unless of course you're more involved in management in which case you probably have meetings left, right and centre to get up and attend.

It really does sound cliché, but one thing I've taken from this is that physical exercises are just as important as mental exercises in this industry. Instead of making the effort to go to the gym straight after work, I'd go home and do some programming on personal projects, and/or watch some Netflix and neglect working out physically. However, today marks day one back at the gym after a long hiatus. It's bizarre seeing the same folk that were just starting out when I was too, except now they're ripped to shreds because they've actually stuck at it. Makes me wonder what my fitness would be like now hadn't I gotten out of the routine. Maybe my back wouldn't have hurt this morning. One things for sure though, I feel safe in the knowledge that it isn't going to ache at least for the next 3-4 days. I know this because the overall body pain resulting from today's gym session is going to massively outweigh the discomfort caused by my back that I probably won't even notice it.