Improve your programming with a daily regimen of situps (or anything you can do to strengthen abs), walks in the woods, and lots of water.Which in turn, inspired me to quickly write this post.
— Steven Feuerstein (@stevefeuerstein) July 14, 2014
The combination of being in IT and working from home leads to lots of hours logged in some sort of chair, whether its in my home office, at a customer site or a coffee shop. You don't need to be a doctor to realize that this is not particularly healthy behavior.
So for the past few months, I've incorporated something new into my daily routine: taking a walk. It doesn't sound like much, and quite honestly, it really isn't. But, I wish that I had started this years ago, because the benefits of it are huge.
First of all, it's nice to get outside during the day, especially when it's actually nice out. Nothing can quite compare to it, no matter how many pixels they squeeze into a tablet. Sometimes I just walk at a leisurely pace, other times I run. I'm not training for any specific race, nor do I feel compelled to share my statistics over social media. I just do what I want when I can.
Second of all, it gives me some time to either listen to a podcast, music or to just think. I've really grown to like the podcasts that the folks at TWiT (http://www.twit.tv) produce, with This Week in Tech being one of my favorites. Listening to something that interests you makes the time go by so much quicker, that you may even be tempted to extend your distance to accommodate the extra content.
In fact, listening to them really puts me in a creative and inspired mood, which helps explain the third benefit: background processing. I don't know much about neuroscience, but I do know a little bit how my brain works. If I'm struggling with a difficult problem, I've learned over time that the best thing that I can do is to literally walk away from it. Going on a walk or run or even a drive allows my brain to "background process" that problem while I focus on other things. The "A-Ha!" moment that I have is my brain's way of alerting me once the problem has been solved. Corny, I know, but that's how it works for me.
And lastly - and probably most importantly - I've been able to drop a few pounds because of my walks (combined with better eating habits). I do use RunKeeper to log my walks and track my weight, because numbers simply don't lie. It also serves as a source of inspiration if I can beat a personal record or cross a weight milestone.