The importance of exercise for IT professionals

by HSG on May 16, 2014 in Articles from Software Fans

Programmers often tend to be sedentary people. Sitting in a chair and pressing keys, testing code, and planning out one logical step-wise strategy after another to get the computer to process data the way you want it to is just what life as a programmer is all about. But, is being too sedentary hindering a programmers max potential? In other words, will getting up, moving around, and getting the blood pumping make us better programmers? To answer this question more efficiently, we will need to consider the impact of exercise on various aspects of programming.

Alertness And Focus

It is no surprise that working up a sweat makes the mind wake up and become more alert. As the blood starts pumping, the body physically reacts in ways that helps the mind to better focus. And improving our focus might make us better programmers in the sense that we are more able to wrap our mind around a problem and deal with it more efficiently than if we feel sluggish and not so alert. However, improving one's focus with exercise can be augmented by taking such vitamins as B6, Coleen, and eating more saturated fats rather than so many sugars. Exercise alone may be a good start, but it is important to realize that the impact of exercise on overall focus can be enhanced when combined with other dietary practices. However, it never hurts to begin a day of programming with fifteen minutes of rigorous workout to give the mind a little extra push.

Increase In Intellect

Does exercise cause a programmer to become a smarter programmer? This is perhaps a trickier question. In some sense, it might seem as if exercise makes us more intelligent. But, this may be more because our focus is sharper than because of any increase in actual knowledge. For example, if you don't know how to program in Python, it is highly doubtful that exercising harder will all of a sudden transfer such insights directly to your brain. However, exercise might have another indirect impact on a programmer’s intellect that will help them to become a better programmer. The more a person exercises, the more stamina and energy they will tend to have, as compared to programmers who never exercise all that much. That additional energy and stamina might help a programmer to be able to push themselves to learn things more efficiently, simply because they aren't getting tired as much as they study new languages or coding techniques. If you have more energy and stamina throughout the day, you will likely be more productive as a programmer as well. Greater productivity can often make one program better simply because they actually push themselves to finish projects. Other programmers who do not exercise on a regular basis may simply lack the energy, stamina, and motivation to follow through and bring their programming projects to completion.

Memory

The ability to remember things and recall them quickly is key to being an efficient programmer. Getting up and getting real exercise may be central to making sure that one does not lose control of these cognitive abilities. According to the New York Times, article, Getting a Brain Boost Through Exercise, recent research studies on mice and humans have shown that, in both cases, exercise does in fact appear to promote better memory function as well as other cognitive factors like spacial sense. (1) Consequently, if a person intends to be a programmer for a long time and wants their mind to be able to remember things and recall them more easily, then exercise may need to become an essential part of such a programmer's daily routine.

As much as one might want to resist the need for exercise and be sedentary programmers, the simple fact is that exercise very well could improve our ability to program in numerous ways. More importantly, exercise is critical to improving and maintaining good health overall. Even if a person does not have much time to get up and move around during the day, there are exercises that one can do while sitting, which would be better to do than no exercise at all.

 

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