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The Healthy Programmer Get Fit, Feel Better and Keep Coding By Joe Kutner

· 5 min read

The Healthy Programmer Book Cover

Hey there, let's discuss a book that explains health in a way that would captivate techies (techies here refer to people who sit before the keyboard) around the world. This book aims at refactoring your health. The book is titled "The Healthy Programmer". As a programmer myself, I did not think twice before picking up this book and read this book immediately. Let me explain how this book felt in parts.

Disclaimer: Health-related books are intended only as an informative guide for those who wish to know health-related aspects however these books should not be treated as a replacement for licensed healthcare providers. Don't be the DIY guy trying to immunize or treat himself all the time.

Amish communities are known for their embrace of a rural lifestyle, manual labor, and a reluctance to adopt modern technology. It’s a far cry from the world of programmers, where we have to remind ourselves to get outside and walk around now and then.

About the author

The best parts of the book

I love to read this book because hacker slang creeps into the pages aptly. The book starts with Let's Refactor your Health. That's what most of us want anyways. Here are some of the good parts.

Lets the unit test our health

Before performing refactoring on our body, let's perform a few unit tests like

  • Do you lose your breath after climbing a single flight of stairs
  • Do you regularly sit for more than one hour without getting up?
  • In the last year have you experienced back, neck, shoulder, or wrist pain
  • In the last week have your eyes become dry, red, or difficult to focus
  • Have you eaten until you were comfortably full more than once in the last month
  • Have you been exposed to direct sunlight for less than 10 minutes today
  • Is it uncomfortable to bend over and tie your shoes
  • Has your pant size increased significantly in the last 5 years

It's a brainer to figure out the associated risks related to each unit test. Once we identify the risk, we can plan to mitigate the risk.

Quick checklist to visit daily

  • Plan for health standup
  • Walk for 10000 steps with 20 mins brisk
  • Move 5 mins/hour. Change position every 20 mins
  • Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables
  • Build 5 Body building exercises

Conduct a daily health standup

  • What did I do yesterday to improve my health
  • What will I do today to improve my health
  • Is there anything blocking you from staying health

Relation between exercise & learning

Programmers are lifelong learners & and an avatar of students. Learning and keeping ourselves up to date is indispensable. one of the best ways to enhance your ability to learn is to get some exercise. There’s also a lot of laboratory evidence showing that our brains work better when our bodies are active. In particular, they become better at remembering new concepts, ideas, and patterns.

Studies show that doing exercise before or after learning something new can help you remember it.

Say hi to walking briskly

Walking is our first guard in defense against lifestyle disease. Use the pedometer on your phone or wristband and clock 10000 steps every day. To get better results, walk often. Hitting the gym and sitting for 15 hours is not effective.

Walking 10000 steps in a day does not capture the intensity, instead, target the daily total of 10k steps to come from spurts of 3,000 steps in thirty minutes or 1,000 steps in ten minutes to ensure that some of your walkings are done briskly.

Other tips

  • Get a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise every day
  • Watch your resting heart BPM. Measure and ensure BPM does not go up as you age. Losing weight, and reducing stress could be useful strategies
  • Mitigate the risks of sitting by
    • Sit for 20 minutes
    • Stand for 20 minutes
    • Walk if you can instead of stand
    • Change between sitting and standing often
  • Every 20 minutes, focus on something 20 meters
  • Here is how you can boost immunity
    • Get enough sleep
    • Drink enough water
    • Avoid antibiotics
    • Eat fermented food
    • Get your vitamin D

Something that I do not agree with

I do not agree with Agile dieting as mentioned in the book. Well, maybe the times have changed. Professionals can come up with specific diet programs which give better results


You cannot fool nature. You have to read this book because your quality of job & life depends on your health. Give yourself the joy of being healthy.

Movement is the key to being healthy. Sitting for long hours is a death sentence for programmers.