Health Suggestions for Software Developers

by Krishna on February 18, 2007

People working in a software development environment find it really hard to lead a healthy lifestyle. As developers, we are so enamored with the technology that we sacrifice sleep and exercise. We binge on fast and fatty foods. So we are out of shape and suffering for it.

When I used to work in Bangalore and Chennai (Madras) as a developer, I didn’t have a vehicle and had to walk a long distance to the bus stand. In Chennai, the buses were so crowded that sometimes I used to walk a couple of kilometers with my friend Vijil (also colleague and roommate) to the office and back. It was good exercise and the conversations with Vijil (who now works at IBM Software Labs) were very interesting.

However, in the US, since we travel all the time by car and there are no ready opportunities for exercising, I started putting on the pounds. It is not easy to get rid of them unless I take time out to visit the gym. That can be difficult sometimes. So I thought: what are the easy ways to remain healthy without too much effort?

Here are some tips based on those experiences:

  1. Don’t remain hungry: Always keep something on hand to eat. When you eat small snacks or fruits, your hunger remains in check and you will eat smaller meals.
  2. Don’t shop for groceries while you are hungry or tired: Otherwise, you will end up buying junk or fattening food that you will start devouring when you reach home.
  3. Sleep well: Being tired or having body pains makes you eat or drink more.
  4. Reduce eating out: It is difficult to control food intake when eating in a restaurant. However, cooking at home doesn’t necessarily mean eating less. It is better to have some snacks before cooking so that you don’t cook a lot. If you have to eat out, have a good snack before going out. One way to eat less in a restaurant is to decide (before eating) to take home the rest — you will leave more on the plate that way.
  5. Buy healthy foods: Buy diet soda. Get fat-free milk and yogurt. Buy fresh fruit and fresh juice (NOT from concentrate). Buy whole wheat bread. Spend a few seconds to read the labels about calories and ingredients before putting it in your cart. Spend more money on your health.
  6. Eat more veggies: Add more vegetables and fruits to your non-vegetarian diet.
  7. Exercise when watching TV: Instead of eating while watching TV, do some simple exercises like stretching or lifting weights. This makes the TV time more productive. Don’t start exercising with any goals — they will only de-motivate you if you don’t make enough progress quickly. Just focus on doing the exercise — results will follow eventually.
  8. Drink enough water: This helps your body functions.
  9. Reduce unhealthy habits: If you are addicted to any unhealthy habit like smoking, try reducing it. Get the help of family and friends to help you quit.
  10. Think about your health: The best way to become healthier to make that a focus in life. If you start thinking of everything in terms of good health, you will slowly form good habits and live better.

I am not a physician or dietician — so this is not comprehensive. Do explore other resources on the Internet regarding diet, exercise, illness, etc. It is worth the time.

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