The Healthy Programmer by Joe Kutner
$27.05 at Amazon
Everybody knows the stereotype of the programmer: hunched over a desk, working too many hours, drinking too much caffeine. By and large, the stereotype is true, and we have the back, wrist, and eye aches to prove it.
The Healthy Programmer is a quick read, with a companion iPhone app, that aims to help programmers take better care of ourselves. As with almost all health and wellness books, there’s no revolutionary new information here – much of the contents I’ve seen before, in one form or another – but the author does a good job of relating the content to its intended audience. Each chapter (Preventing Back Pain, Refactoring Fitness, etc) starts out with a story that introduces the topic, dips briefly into the scientific details (there’s a long bibliography at the back of the book), then lays out practical steps to take (such as simple exercises to add to your daily routine) and a goal (such as getting an eye exam or taking a yoga class). The free app is essentially a checklist for doing your recommended items (take 10k steps per day, get five minutes of movement every hour) but the author also recommends various other sites you can use if you prefer something more elaborate.
I just finished the book this afternoon and haven’t worked through all the exercises or met most of the goals yet, but it already inspired me to download a pedometer and start keeping track of how much I walk (a little under 4k steps per day, it turns out) and to make the effort to fidget more while working at my desk. I’ve never been much for exercise, but after reading this book I’m feeling at least a little bit motivated. Five stars for a quick, interesting, and inspiring read.
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this book.