Monday, May 19, 2008

Fitness as a Competitive Advantage

Jeff Atwood blogged recently about cleaning the monitor and the keyboard.

Some quick thoughts:

  • A big +1 on not touching the monitor. I cringe every time anyone touches any monitor. It actually distracts me during code reviews.
  • Keyboard manufacturers should figure out a way that the electronics can be removed easily (like a cartridge) to enable dishwasher use.
  • Jeff mentions "my" keyboard: I guess he doesn't work in a public war-room. Believe me, that is a whole new, fascinating ballgame. More to come sometime.
  • I don't condone filth, but I'm not convinced the neat-freaks have it right, especially with those cleaners that clean 99.5% of bacteria. Hmmmm.... no training for the immune system and we leave The Nasties to party. Is that a good idea? (As an aside, check out this article on germ factories (aka children) and the beneficial effects on parents and pediatricians.)
On to the point: presumably, Jeff wants to clean his keyboard so that he doesn't get sick. However, that is only half of the equation.

It is well-documented that moderate exercise can boost the immune system. So one could argue that we owe it to our teams, our careers, and our families to get out there and work out.

Maybe you do so. Maybe you do more than me. But if not, I'm not talking about doing an Ironman (though a sprint triathlon is a fantastic accomplishment, and much easier). I'm suggesting a 30 minute session 3 times a week, where the heartrate is elevated. Don't go for a walk: that's ok, but if you want to fight germs, aim higher.

There are other benefits as well:
  • You know those "aha" moments in the shower? Well, athletes shower more often: more aha moments.
  • It's not quite as magical as the shower, but if you swim or run, it is a phenomenal way to work out problems, without trying. The whole subconscious/background cooking thing.
  • I hate the pseudo-verb "network" but if you find your niche, you'll meet all kinds of new people. Bonus.
  • I have friends/colleagues who train in mixed martial arts: that's gotta be a stress reliever.
I ain't preachin'. I ain' teachin'.

I'm just sayin'.... Something to consider.

For those who are active: what do you like to do?


Mark Volkmann said...

Right on Mike! I often come up with solutions to software issues while I'm running ... and I run better while doing that because it takes my mind off the discomfort of running. I'm not sure if I could do that though while someone was trying to embed their foot into my skull during mixed martial arts. ;-)

Michael Easter said...

Ah... perhaps that's why I'm not as productive: I need to run to the point of discomfort! I tend to run at a pace just shy of discomfort.

I enjoy watching UFC fighting but I do wonder about the "meditation effect". I'm guessing that the training is a stress relief but I bet a bout sure isn't...

Deryl said...

I 100% agree ( especially with the Germ factories = kids part ) ... when I'm super healthy eating great and working out I can't find enough to do during the day from wake --> sleep...the productivity and efficiency is amazing..

when I'm ..well..the opposite ( not working out and eating garbage ) I wake up with a dreading "here we go again....another day..." feeling and keep watching the clock to see if it's 5pm yet... it 5pm yet? think I gotta hit the gym this weekend...

Robert Breidecker said...

Great post Mike. I agree with your thoughts on germs as well as working out. Its great to be reminded of how important it is to stay fit, regardless of how hectic our schedules get.