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How to Stay Physically Fit as a Remote Developer

tdmoor profile image Thomas De Moor Originally published at x-team.com on ・3 min read

Remote developers spend their days in front of a screen. Their job requires it, nearly all modern entertainment happens through a screen, and remote work removes the commute that serves as a form of activity for many. As a result, it's easy to lead a life of little to no exercise.

Being inactive for long periods of time has serious health repercussions. It's in your best interests to be physically fit, but this requires you to be active on a daily basis. Thankfully, it needn't be hard. Here are a few easy ways you can be more active in your day-to-day.

Life Isn't About Comfort

First, a mindset change. Life shouldn't be about eternal physical comfort. If you come across an activity that requires some physical effort, don't avoid it. Do it!

For example, if you live in an apartment building, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Your heart will start beating faster and pump more blood and oxygen through your body, which has all kinds of health benefits.

How to Stay Physically Fit as a Remote Developer
Take the stairs

Another example is carrying groceries. Keep your back straight and walk carrying those heavy grocery bags. This is even an exercise in the gym: it's called the Farmer's Walk and it exercises the biggest, most important muscles in your body.

When you pay attention to it, you'll notice that you have plenty of opportunities every day to get some form of physical exercise in. It might not always be comfortable, but it's these small, daily choices that will keep you fit.

Think Ergonomics

If you're in your home office for most of the day, best make it ergonomic. Having a standing desk, in particular, keeps you physically fit, while also avoiding the negatives of sitting, such as restricted blood circulation and tight muscles.

How to Stay Physically Fit as a Remote Developer
A standing desk keeps you in shape

Some people take it one step further and build a treadmill under their desk, so they're walking at a leisurely pace while working. This burns even more calories than standing and is particularly useful when you have tasks that don't require your full attention.

We tend to ignore ergonomics because they don't seem to matter in the short run. But investing in an ergonomic office is vitally important to avoid carpal tunnel, back pain, bad eyesight, etc.

Find Exercise You Like

Exercise doesn't have to be unpleasant. It doesn't have to be something you force yourself to do. If you struggle to motivate yourself to work out, maybe you simply haven't found a type of exercise you like yet.

If you don't like running, of course it'll be hard to get yourself up in the morning to go run. But have you tried rock climbing? What about a weekly hike with your friends? Dancing? Yoga? Playing football with your kids? Swimming? Fencing? Even VR can get you in shape!

How to Stay Physically Fit as a Remote Developer
Bouldering is a fun way to exercise (and make friends)

The point is that there are an uncountable number of ways you can be physically active. Find something that you naturally enjoy doing. You'll rely less on willpower to exercise and will be more physically active as a result.

Don't Expect the World

Exercising consistently will make you feel better. You'll have more energy too and there are countless other health benefits that you won't immediately notice. But you shouldn't expect the world.

You won't transform your body and shouldn't expect to either. Physical changes take a long time to happen (and then they'll seem to have happened all of a sudden). So don't put pressure on yourself with unreachable goals.

Exercise just for the sake of it. That's why it's important to find something you enjoy doing. You'll enjoy the process and care less for the result. If you combine that with an ergonomic office and the small opportunities you have every day to be active, you'll become and stay a healthy, productive, active remote developer.

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codingmindfully profile image
Daragh Byrne

I keep exercise gear - bands, light weights, kettle bells, foam rollers and so on - right next to my desk. And I dress in clothing that makes stretching easy (I'm big on mobility and a simple stretch routine a few times a day goes a long way. I agree, consistency is king, and exercising with the intention of having it enhance your life, rather than a way to be some kind of "best", is going to work better in the long run.