If you’re a software developer, you’re probably aware that, no matter how passionate you are about your job, it’s not exactly the healthiest. Although it’s not considered a dangerous job, many developers have to deal with health problems like back, neck and wrist pain, eye strain and migraines. Sitting at a desk in front of a computer for hours on end won’t kill you, but it’s not good for you either. If you haven’t had any problems yet, you can consider yourself lucky, but you probably will one day.
When left unchecked, long working hours, burnout and health problems can spiral out of control. Fortunately, there are things you can do to stay fit and healthy.
Practice Good Posture
No matter how well-equipped your office is with comfy, ergonomic chairs and desks, you still need to practice good posture. While it may seem trivial in your twenties, it will catch up with you.
Some developers deal with this issue by using a standing desk. Maybe your office already has them. If you’re working remotely, know that they don’t have to cost a fortune. However, your body will need some time to adjust, so you’ll need to alternate between sitting and standing and gradually increase the time you spend standing.
Some take it to the next level with a treadmill desk or by combining their standing desk with a walking pad. If you decide to do this, do yourself a favor and keep the speed low at about 2 mph. The point isn’t to run marathons while you’re working. Your goal is just to find ways to work without having to sit all the time.
Although supplements like Vitamin D, magnesium, iron and fulvic acid can help, a good diet is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to give up all your favorite foods entirely. Just pay attention to what you’re eating and when. Simply keeping track will make a huge difference, and you’ll see that it will motivate you to improve your eating habits.
Green leafy vegetables are high in protein, iron, calcium, and fiber, so try to include more of them in your diet. It’s best to consume small servings of high-calorie foods and fruits every day and make sure your body gets the nutrients it needs. A balanced diet maintains the body functioning optimally, including the brain, so it’s a much better way to increase your productivity than skipping lunch, eating at your desk or constantly working overtime.
Avoid skipping meals and going on fad diets. Being hungry is not only unpleasant. It also makes it harder to resist junk food. If you feel like you need a snack between meals, just eat an apple, a banana or some nuts.
Also, try to limit your intake of sugar as much as possible. Sugar is addictive, increases appetite, makes you gain weight, and affects your ability to focus – to name just a few of the reasons why you should cut back.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Sleep deprivation has an immediate and detrimental influence on your performance, brain function and hormones. Performing well at work as a software developer is mostly based on your ability to think logically, so you need your sleep. Sleep also makes you more creative and resilient to stress.
You’ll be a lot more productive if you get on a good sleep schedule instead of burning the midnight oil. Many developers get into a vicious cycle. They don’t get enough sleep because they work late, which makes them less productive, so they’re constantly working late just to achieve an average output.
If you have trouble falling asleep, try to limit your exposure to blue light at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted by digital displays interferes with the circadian rhythm and melatonin production.
This is probably the most obvious tip on our list, but not that many software developers get enough exercise. Mostly it’s because they don’t like it, so they tell themselves they’re too busy. Maybe that’s what you tell yourself as well. But you know there are people going to the gym who are busier than you. If you don’t want to go to the gym, you’ll always find a reason to avoid it.
The reality is that the human body was not made for the sort of sedentary lifestyle that’s often associated with working in software development. Your body needs to move. You don’t have to turn from Bruce Banner to the Hulk. Just do enough to stay healthy, fit and have a clear mind.
If you ride your bike or walk to work, you’re already ahead of the game. Getting regular exercise, as annoying and difficult as it might be in the beginning, will pay off in the long run. We promise you it’s true. Science says so.