Getting active when your developer job has you sitting all day

When your job is sedentary by nature, like with software developers, it's hard to remain healthily active. Here are some tips to help.

Unlocking tech talent stories

April 7, 2022

Being physically active is of great importance if you want to remain healthy.  Unfortunately, there are countless people who do not come close to meeting the minimum weekly exercise requirements set out by the World Health Organization (WHO). When your job is very sedentary by nature, as is the case with software developers, it may be even more difficult to engage in the amount of physical activity required to keep fit and healthy.  While it may be difficult to get active when you are used to sitting behind a desk for more than 8 hours a day, there are a number of things you can do to incorporate some exercise into your routine and boost your overall health and well-being.

Stretch at your desk

Sitting at your desk for hours on end working on ground-breaking software can take a toll on your body, leaving you feeling stiff, sore, and sluggish. The easiest way to boost your circulation and keep your muscles supple is by doing stretching exercises at your desk.The internet is inundated with desk-bound stretches that take only a few minutes to perform every few hours. Apart from contributing to your physical health, regular stretching can also help get rid of mind fog while getting the creative juices flowing.  Stretch as many muscles as you can, starting with your feet and making your way up your legs to your torso, arms, and neck.

Invest in a standing desk

Standing desks have been the talk of the town for quite some time already.  In fact, the very first standing desk dates back to 1998. These desks can make a great difference to the health and fitness levels of developers who live a very sedentary life. Apart from actively reducing neck and back pain commonly associated with sitting for extended periods of time in front of a computer, investing in a standing desk can also reduce the risk of heart disease while boosting energy levels. It is important to note that you shouldn’t overdo it though. In order to maximize the benefits of a standing desk, aim for a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio of sitting to standing. 

Try to remain active when you are not at work

Although many software developers go into the office early, leave late, and work through their lunch breaks, an effort can still be made to be active when you are not at work. Aim to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week as recommended. This equates to as little as 30 minutes of activity, five times a week. This is fairly easy to achieve even if you work 10 hours a day and sleep between 8 and 9 hours a night. Over weekends you may have even more free time at your disposal which can be used for physical activities. If you are not a fan of formal exercise, find activities that you do enjoy and that will get you on your feet and even out of the house. Options worth considering include hiking in nature, cycling, swimming, and even just playing with your children in the park. 

As rewarding as a career as a developer may be, the sedentary nature of the job may have some downfalls. Thankfully, making an effort to be more active can, for the most part, negate many of the downsides of sitting behind a desk most of the day.

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