Scott Hanselman

The Programmer's Body

August 27, '10 Comments [86] Posted in Musings
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150568960I am broken, my friends. I've blogged before on:

Today I'm wearing a neck brace. Yes, I'm one of the "looks like they are suing someone" people. I hate those people and now I'm one of them.

I was totally fine, all was well, playing at the playground with 2 and 4 when I decided to do some chin-ups on the monkey bars. I can usually do ten good ones so I didn't think it was a big deal. I worked out like a fiend from age 15 to 25 so I thought I had some decent muscle maturity. Turns out that's not true and I'm tight as hell.

Sitting in front of a computer for the last 20+ years has broken me, my friends. I'm tense and some muscle in my neck ripped on chin-up #2 quite nicely. I dropped and haven't been able to move my head since Sunday. Now I'm doing physical therapy, chiropractic, exercises, stretching and generally being sad.

Fortunately Microsoft is pretty cool about this and only want to me to get my ass back to making money for the company get better, so they're getting me a desk that will be motorized and go up and down so I can sit AND stand while working.

I'm hoping this experience will be the kick in the head (and neck) that will get me back in shape. I'd hate it if I ran out of keystrokes.

 

163_25_e 

Let this be a lesson to YOU, Dear Reader. Take breaks, stretch, make sure your desk area is setup ergonomically.

How do YOU keep your body, hands, back and neck from breaking down completely?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Friday, August 27, 2010 9:49:09 AM UTC
I run about 12 miles per week and bike about 100 miles per week. That ought to help. As inactive as my work life is, I find that I have to keep my non-work life very active to compensate. Otherwise the pounds pack on quickly, the khakis don't fit, madness ensues.
Friday, August 27, 2010 9:50:12 AM UTC
I think they call it a mid life crisis when you try to do thinks you could but can't anymore. Wait till you get 40.
Friday, August 27, 2010 9:56:55 AM UTC
Lots of bedsport.
Friday, August 27, 2010 10:03:24 AM UTC
I suggest you try using a gym ball as office chair. I wrote a review for this in my blog a few weeks ago... I have been using only it at home, because my employer (University) would not allow me to trade a 100€ office chair for a 7€ gym ball (because there is no place to put this chair I'm on). But my girlfriend and several of her office mates use it all day long in front of their computers and it has made a change for them, or so they say. At least, they have not switched back to a normal chair, 3 months later.

Give it a try, it is cheap... And if it doesn't work, you can toss it in a swimming pool.

Ruben
Friday, August 27, 2010 10:04:54 AM UTC
That sad, get well soon mate.
Friday, August 27, 2010 10:05:23 AM UTC
Firstly ... ooh hope it's not to painful & get well soon.

Secondly not sure if 'chiropractic exercises' was just a quick phrase or if you are spending health insurance $ on seeing a chiropractor .. but I would probably give them a miss if you are/thinking about it.

Dr(proper one) Ben Goldacre and Simon Singh could both tell you a true story or two about chiropractors.
Friday, August 27, 2010 10:06:28 AM UTC
I run about 4 km per day and, to keep my wrists "in perfect shape", I use a Powerball and an do some weight lifting. I recommend the Powerball, definitely. After 10+ hours writing and re-writing code, it helps a lot.
Friday, August 27, 2010 10:06:35 AM UTC
Let this be a lesson to YOU, Dear Reader. Take breaks, stretch, make sure your desk area is setup ergonomically

Posted 2010-08-27 02:43 AM


What about getting some decent sleep? :P
Friday, August 27, 2010 10:17:48 AM UTC
I keep my body, hands, back and neck from breaking down by not going outdoors too often ;)
Friday, August 27, 2010 10:29:41 AM UTC
Hi Scott,

I feel for you. In my office I have a hight adjustable desk. I tried the gym bal sugested by Ruben for a few days, but could no get used to it. But I think most important I started running. Not much, just 2 or 3 times a week and then about 30 minutes each time. Which works great for me. I get extra energy out of it and it puts my mind on other things. And I hope it work as a brace prevention.

best wishes from the netherlands

Ferry
Ferry
Friday, August 27, 2010 10:30:07 AM UTC
Ouch, sorry about that Scott. From the photo it looks like you ruptured the muscle that holds your tongue in too.

I have _the_ answer. Yoga and sports massage. Iyengar is pretty good as the teacher training is long and rigorous (a lot of yoga teachers are dangerous). Just started doing sports massage. First thing she worked on? Scar tissue along the muscles in my neck from being buckled over my keyboard all day.

And yes, people have laughed at me for doing yoga, but when they're typing with their noses, I will have the last laugh. And no, you don't have to do chanting and OMing. At least, not with the teachers I've had.
Friday, August 27, 2010 10:30:22 AM UTC
Might be worth looking at this recent BBC News acticle about seating posture. It's not good for you to sit up straight as most people think:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6187080.stm

I always slouch at work even though my boss always thinks I'm sleeping!
Daniel Smith
Friday, August 27, 2010 10:46:05 AM UTC
I train (traditional) Ju-Jutsu 3 times a week to keep fit and flexible. This involves all kinds of movements which require every muscle. This helps alot at keeping flexible as I tend to 'tense' up my muscles when I'm very concentrated when programming.
Vince
Friday, August 27, 2010 11:14:06 AM UTC
If you are stuck with some down time, I just hope that you are comfortable and can find something enjoyable to do while you heal.

I should probably add some solution to fix your problem, or tell you about how I do some activity so this could never happen to me. I'm sure that will help you a lot right now :)

Good luck recovering!

Friday, August 27, 2010 11:18:58 AM UTC
Wish you all the best - will work.

You are getting old that's all. We have photos from you @work.
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=24557&id=1412444521&l=c96b32560b

Now little more serious:

Go for walks and make breaks - the problem is not sitting in front of the computer - it's the laptop, the problem is too driving to much by car,.... I had something similiar could not sit for longer than 1,5 hours and then again another after half an hour walk.

One statement with mid life crisis, ha, not really - but it can happen that if people feel pressure on their neck - this is a mental sign for running at risk to burn out due to overestimating the possible workload one can manage or fear concerning one's own future - I cannot imagine this in your case. So it is physical. Your body said something different - don't repair things in the house!!! We are digital, we are not made for this. Digital life forms are on the way to virtualize and not to materialize.

Desks where you stand are a good idea this is well prooven in banks --> desk ... one thing only sitting in front of laptops and bending forward is evil anything else is not a problem. You do not have to sit like aged secretaries - do not bend forward breaks sharpen your sight - so eyes are getting less tired - so you bend forward less.
Michael Thuma
Friday, August 27, 2010 11:20:16 AM UTC
Hey scott
Get well soon.
Hope this gets over very fast
bidel
Friday, August 27, 2010 11:38:51 AM UTC
I hope you get better. I constantly think about what would happen if I couldn't type at the computer.

In reference to the programmer's hands post, do you still use dictation software?
Friday, August 27, 2010 11:44:10 AM UTC
shotokan karate. nuff said
KoW
Friday, August 27, 2010 12:00:28 PM UTC
Ouch, best of luck getting better Scott.
Friday, August 27, 2010 12:06:09 PM UTC
I am getting fat, I'm unfit as hell and I can feel this coming for me... I.JUST.NEED.SOME.INSPIRATION.

Perhaps this is it.

Get well soon mate.
Friday, August 27, 2010 12:20:56 PM UTC
"Chin ups on the Monkey Bars...."

Instantly reminded me of what I do when I take my daughter to the playground and do the same. You know the jungle gym with the "45lbs max" sticker so parents don't use it ;-) I jump up and do 4-6 pull ups. I will keep it under 10 heading your advice.
Friday, August 27, 2010 12:29:39 PM UTC
WorkRave at http://www.workrave.org. It reminds you to get up and stretch at set intervals.

Eddy.
Friday, August 27, 2010 12:31:13 PM UTC
Scott, sorry to hear about your injury.

I have started to do Yoga once a week and that seems to really help. If you find the right kind of Yoga place it is really mostly about stretching and clearing your mind. I find it very relaxing and I get a whole body stretch. Try it out!
Friday, August 27, 2010 12:38:58 PM UTC
What motorized table are you looking at?
Friday, August 27, 2010 12:43:08 PM UTC
I've been practising kung fu for at least as long as I've played with computers. While I do have the occasional back pain and the like when I sit down all day, I find that regular exercise and finding any excuse to move around really helps to stay at optimal mobility.

While breaking into martial arts at the office may be a little too extreme, walking around and doing some light stretching is just good sense.

All the best.
Friday, August 27, 2010 12:50:26 PM UTC
I'm totally with you. This morning I confirmed an MRI and physical therapy for neck pain over the last 4 weeks. Unless I workout like a fiend, which I still am able to do, my back begins to ache and tighten. I'm a consultant (yes, I say it freely and no one can stop me!) so I get the crappiest equipement at whatever client I'm with that day since all others have been hoarded by the misfit toys after the last downsizing.

Cure: eliminate the mouse and purchase the gear from the Daemon and Freedom™ books.
Friday, August 27, 2010 12:50:47 PM UTC
I hope you will be OK in no time.
Friday, August 27, 2010 12:57:28 PM UTC
I workout 4-5 times a week. When I say workout what I mean is strength training / body building. I figure if I can keep by body is shape then sitting at a desk for 8-10 hours at work and 4-6 hours at home would be OK. When I hit the GYM it's time to lift! It's a balance between "Go Heavy or Go Home" (strength) and body building which focus on the muscle development (aesthetics).

For people who like numbers. I only weigh 165 and I used to barely be able to bench press 70 pds. Now I can bench press 185 on a bad day and 225 on a good day. I can also deadlift 315 without too much trouble. I do need to work on my squats but that's another story...
Friday, August 27, 2010 12:57:42 PM UTC
There's no substitute for real, hardcore exercise. Which I haven't done. If I'm not careful, I will have "the hunch" in 2 years.
Friday, August 27, 2010 1:00:15 PM UTC
I do, well, lets call it cross training. When I'm not programming I'm either remodeling my house, yard work, moving something for a friend, or working on a car. I also have a bowflex (start laughing) I use for squats and bench press to keep some muscle tone around. The squats give a good whole lower body and back training to keep me from pulling my back out. Also without the weights it's much safer to do alone since you don't need someone to spot you. I am still young though, so that may help too.
Josh
Friday, August 27, 2010 1:03:28 PM UTC
Hi Scott,
I think as next step you'd better to create a http://nerdgym.com with MVC 3.
Friday, August 27, 2010 1:06:07 PM UTC
Five days a week, you get up at 5:30 AM and work out for an hour.

Any other questions?
Friday, August 27, 2010 1:10:34 PM UTC
Sorry to hear about this Scott. I realize that you are still young and prone to these fantasies about exercising being "good for you". I'm 46 and I'm in the best shape of my life (if you like round shapes). How am I able to do this? By sitting as still as possible for as many hours in the day as I can manage. Sure I have to get up and go to the car to drive to work or go to the washroom, but at least I'm in a seated position. To quote Winston Churchill about toilets "why stand when there's a seat provided".
Well, I hope you get better soon and while you are waiting, please reconsider this foolish notion you have about needing to be fit. You're giving us keyboard surfers a bad name.
Friday, August 27, 2010 1:18:23 PM UTC
My thinking position is feet up on desk, fully leaned back in my reclining desk chair. Passers-by think I'm being lazy, but it's how my brain seems to work best. Keeps me in great shape, too. Wait, no it doesn't. I'm in pretty lousy shape. But I eat salad a couple times per week, and motorcycle riding keeps my wrists and arms in shape. That's all I got...

Get well soon.
Friday, August 27, 2010 1:32:30 PM UTC
Yoga.
Friday, August 27, 2010 1:46:02 PM UTC
I feel your pain, Scott. Well, not as much pain - I pulled my calf this morning going for a run. It was a similar cause though. I didn't stretch and I'm under the delusion that I can just get up and run 7 miles cold.

You should sue the company that makes the monkey bars, by the way.
Friday, August 27, 2010 1:49:43 PM UTC
Most of the software professionals are not exercising at all including myself. I usually work 9-9 everyday and after coming back at home, still in front of computer. I think this habit has to be changed. The only exercise is the one day badminton playing in the weekend. Life is going to suck in a big way!
Friday, August 27, 2010 1:59:21 PM UTC
I've found this post on Art of Manliness helpful for keeping up a decent fitness regimen:

http://artofmanliness.com/2009/06/25/30-days-to-a-better-man-day-26-take-the-marine-corps-fitness-test/

I found this chin-up bar to be really good and inexpensive:

http://www.amazon.com/Iron-Gym-Total-Upper-Workout/dp/B001EJMS6K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=exercise-and-fitness&qid=1282917533&sr=1-2



Friday, August 27, 2010 2:15:20 PM UTC
Multisports training for triathlon 6-7days a week, gives an advantage against a body that seems to be very willing to decay fast! Hard on any spare time and family time though
Friday, August 27, 2010 2:25:38 PM UTC
I'm interested to hear how you like that desk. I was thinking about getting one for my office at home. It's actually quite a reasonable price for what you get.
Friday, August 27, 2010 2:31:14 PM UTC
With me it was my lower back - almost exactly ten years ago, which makes sense as I reckon I 'm at least that much older than you, Scott. And if you have ever irritated your sciatic nerve, trust me, it's like blue-screening your body.

Anyway, after two weeks flat on my back I recovered and got back to work. But the obvious lesson that as you get older you can no longer eat anything you want, avoid exercise, spend too much time at your computer, and expect to maintain your health didn't really sink in. I avoided making the life style changes I should have.

And then, four years ago, it was my gall bladder that gave me another "wake up call". Due to some gross negligence from the good folks at my local Kaiser, I nearly died waiting for care in the emergency room. But thanks to one caring doctor, who finally intervened and got me the attention I needed, I survived.

Once I recovered from that, I finally and at long last realized that my body was going to care for itself. I started going to a local health club a few days a week after work. Doing the stair climber and row machine, trying some weights. It helped, but not really. It was haphazard, random and unfocused. And I didn't really feel that much better as a result. It wasn't until I started lifting weights with a plan and a purpose that I started getting results. I've lost a good deal of weight, have more energy and no longer struggle to get out of bed in the morning due to my chronic lower back condition. I won't make the obvious analogy to exercising without a plan being like writing software without a design (although I just did) ;) But it is so.

I'm not saying everyone needs to follow this course, or come within a few hours of death, to realize this. But I figure that now that I am drawing closer to fifty (something most who read this probably can't yet imagine) and that I have to keep at this job for a least another 15-20 years (cause == 2008 financial meltdown) that I can't possibly keep my edge as a software developer without being in the best possible physical health.

Oh, and as a plus, I actually look forward to exercising. It is essential that we get away from the keyboard often and for extended periods. Be it spending time with loved ones, working in the yard, riding a bike, whatever. It truly sharpens our focus when we get back to work.

Hope you feel better soon, Scott.
Friday, August 27, 2010 3:15:50 PM UTC
I actually own the GeekDesk shown in the picture and it's great ... it actually feels good to stand after sitting for 36 years straight.
Mike
Friday, August 27, 2010 3:22:21 PM UTC
I run a twice a week, and lift weights three times a week currently. You NEED to work out regularly if you are in our industry.

Hope you feel better soon!
Friday, August 27, 2010 3:29:22 PM UTC
Isn't there a union at microsoft that could get you better health benefits or force the management to pay for body/mind wellness classes or something? Getting a new desk doesn't seem like much at all :/
Rudolf O.
Friday, August 27, 2010 3:30:17 PM UTC
I race mtn bikes and generally stay in shape by cycling and running. Life's too short to be sitting in front of a computer all day every day.
Friday, August 27, 2010 3:45:10 PM UTC
I think that you have to examine the evidence here.

Did you get injured whilst programming?
Did you get injured whilst watching TV?
Did you get injured whilst sitting still?
Did you get injured whilst not exercising?
Did you get injured whilst exercising?

Some of you may have noticed how many fitness fanatics, athletes, football players, etc. limp around with neck braces, leg braces, support bandages and all manner of surgical supports.

The problem my friend is not the lack of exercise. It is exercise itself.

How many people do you know who injured themselves whilst not exercising?
Friday, August 27, 2010 4:18:21 PM UTC
I think all programmers should do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Human chess w/ a crazy workout (plug for: 10thplanetjj.com)
Friday, August 27, 2010 5:01:40 PM UTC
Thank you Scott for this article, learned a lot on this important issue. Right now I'm trying the technique of sitting at a 120 deg angle. The dos and donts should get more mileage out of myself in the long run. Really hope you get well soon!
Friday, August 27, 2010 5:51:39 PM UTC
Geeks get code, don't they?
[Required(ErrorMessage = "You need to exercise!")]
[Range(typeof(TimeSpan), "144000000000", "1728000000000",
ErrorMessage = "You need to think about how often you exercise!")]
public TimeSpan ExerciseInterval { get; set; }
Friday, August 27, 2010 6:02:00 PM UTC
Check out P90X and/or Insanity...or just about any other workout DVDs from Beachbody. They're solid, take only about an hour, and hit your entire body, including flexibility.
Jeff Key
Friday, August 27, 2010 6:39:25 PM UTC
Ouch. That sounds familiar. I hurt my neck awhile back as well. I never got it diagnosed but I believe it was a herniated disc. It took about a week to heal completely. And then when I felt better I worked out and reinjured it. So if you have the same thing you might take a little extra time before performing anymore acrobatics on the monkey bars. By the way, I found that applying heat helped the inflammation, as did ibuprofen but I don't like taking too much of that.

Anyway, I'm moving soon and abandoning my 200 pound steel work desk. And I too will be getting one of those fancy GeekDesks.
Friday, August 27, 2010 6:44:17 PM UTC
I concur with yoga. While more in-ercise than exercise, it both stretches and strengthens the entire body, especially around the joints, which most other exercise regimens do not do. I also weight train in moderation to keep my body accustomed to lifting and carrying weight (useful for fathers of young children ;-) ).
Friday, August 27, 2010 7:04:30 PM UTC
yoga yoga yoga
Friday, August 27, 2010 7:41:01 PM UTC
I run 3 or 4 days a week since I was 12, and 25 years later, I can say I'm coping well with long keyboard activity hours.
Friday, August 27, 2010 9:55:13 PM UTC
Hey scott, maybe you should give this a read... I know it's after the fact, but still :)
http://sheddingbikes.com/posts/1281257293.html
Friday, August 27, 2010 10:05:29 PM UTC
I have spent a LOT of time researching and tweaking to get this sorted. I have experienced a lot of pain and discomfort already and I am less than 10 years into my career. Here are some of the things that I do:

A good desk is a must. I use a monitor stand and adjustable keyboard tray to get my limbs at the right angles. Ideally you will get some kind of ergonomic professional to come and assess your setup, measure out the right distances for your body and give you general advice.

Equipment: I use a true ergonomic keyboard with no numpad (arm doesnt have to reach out for mousing). Currently the Kinesis Freestyle with the VIP addon is my keyboard of choice. For mouse I like the 3m ergonomic. 99% of keybaords are not really ergonomic, despite what they may be called.

Beyond that I practice yoga and occasionally do pilates which are both amazing for your body. I try and do at least some kind of exercise every day, usually in the morning as that way it still happens if the day gets crazy. Depending on how my arms/back/neck are feeling I will go for therapeutic massage around once a month. Something else worth checking out is the Feldenkrais method (find a local practitioner).

Then there is regular stretching. One of the best things I have found lately is a windows gadget called stretch clock</a>, seriously cool and free.

Dont keep going until you get an injury, you need to employ preventative techniques. Otherwise you will become a very sore old man that survives on pain killers, cant play with grandkids and definitely cant use a computer.
Friday, August 27, 2010 10:43:18 PM UTC
I run 40-50 miles a week. I still have to do a little stretching to keep limber. I'm 52 - jlo
Friday, August 27, 2010 11:15:11 PM UTC
Working out and running and swimming is all very good. The fact is thought that a few hours of training can not undo 8+ hours of sitting.

So while very disruptive I get up and stretch every twenty-thirty minutes or so. If I need to ask something of a colleague I get up and walk to their cubicle.

I'm actually setting up a contraption to raise my monitors so I can stand up. I recently cut a tree down with a hand saw because I still can. :-)

Scott, look into foam rolling. Really!
Friday, August 27, 2010 11:24:14 PM UTC
I would think a C# guy like you would wear a curly brace.
Saturday, August 28, 2010 2:43:29 AM UTC
Ouch! I wish you a speedy recovery, Scott. Two years ago, I ruptured my Achilles tendon playing soccer. Getting old sucks.
Saturday, August 28, 2010 10:51:04 AM UTC
take care:)
Monday, August 30, 2010 4:24:53 AM UTC
I share exactly the same sentiments - used to be able to do 16 chin-ups - and after a mere 5 years of programming, I injured both my upper and lower back at chin-up #2.

Nowadays I try to do a bit of yoga and aerobics and light weights to get back into shape.

Toukarin
Monday, August 30, 2010 1:42:32 PM UTC
I Think, that in Denmark its mandatory for a workstation :)
Monday, August 30, 2010 2:46:37 PM UTC
Nice desk... What kind is it?

get well soon...
Monday, August 30, 2010 5:02:13 PM UTC
Scott, get better, try to relax a bit, no computer for a few days (and, no games on the TV either, try watching movies!! its fun!)

My back, shoulders, neck gets out of wack often, not to mention I am sure I am pre-carpel and trying to fight it by stretching, pilates, and for the hands believe it or not pushups are great for the carpel situation and make your arms look great!

There is a GREAT stretch for the back and neck. Lie on your side, back and head straight, knees up to half fetal, arms stretched forward, straight, hands in praying position. Then keep your body in the same position but move your top arm in a half circle to make a straight angle then continue moving it to be about 145 degress and move your head along with it. Hold it, stretch it as far as you can. Awesome stretch, do both sides when you wake up in the am before you even get up. Try to do it a few times a day.

Plus pushups!
Monday, August 30, 2010 5:52:08 PM UTC
try this desk! http://www.hermanmiller.com/Products/Envelop-Desk
Monday, August 30, 2010 11:12:46 PM UTC
Yoga. Do it daily for 15 minutes. It will change your life.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 12:02:16 AM UTC
+1 for Yoga. The hidden benefit for information workers is that you have the opportunity to not think for 90 minutes. This is difficult to achieve but at least as important as the physical benefits.

Supplement that with regular exercise - swimming, elliptical, running, whatever - but don't try to be a hero if you haven't worked out in a while. Start slow and gradually increase as you get stronger.

Scott, I wish you swift recovery!
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 7:37:23 AM UTC
Er, laziness, mostly. Plus cycling, walking instead of driving, and Cuban salsa three times a week (all those under-arm twists and turns will keep your back and neck flexi).
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 9:00:44 AM UTC
Should I do Yoga like with a DVD or do I need to go sweat it out in a studio?
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 2:15:05 PM UTC
I also realized painfully that i was not fit anymore. I used to lift weight when i was young about (21 - 25) i could lift up to about 120pounds to 150pounds and run 5 kms without stopping.

Last year i had a bad realization, i broke my leg so easily. My fibula simply fractured because i stepped badly and now i cannot do many forms of exercises which require me to balance with my right leg.

Sorry Scott! wish you a quick recovery.

Thanks for such an encouragement, its so easy to simply forget about the body and focus on the desk work.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 3:15:47 PM UTC
I had a desk like that a few years ago. Loved it!
John
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 3:36:10 PM UTC
Scott,

Long hours writing code and no physical exercise have taken their toll here as well. I was an athletic 185 pounds in college, but the real world had a significant impact on that. Over the past year I've taken up with CrossFit (if you are into numbers, CrossFit is all about observable and repeatable results) and gone from a lumpy 247 to a hard 205 with over 50lbs of fat loss (and continuing to lose the body fat).

Coupled with exercise, I spend time every day with a foam roller, a couple of lacrosse balls and a thera band, working out all the old man kinks (check out Kelly Starret's Mobility Workout of the Day - he gives a 10 minute cycle of easy to understand movements to hep improve flexibility and mobility).

I also see professionals. I visit the Chiropractor twice a month and get a therapeutic massage about once every other month. There's something to be said for taking the chassis in for an alignment after knowingly abusing it for months at a stretch.

Finally, and probably most importantly, I eat well and attempt to get as much high quality sleep as a man with a consulting job, a four year old starting school and one year old (TODAY!!) at home can get.

Good luck, get well and take care of you,

Chuck.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 5:54:31 PM UTC
Scott,

Do you have any details on the motorized desk you're getting? I've been wanting to get one of those myself.

Thanks.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 6:41:46 PM UTC
Have you tried using Yoga ball as your temp. desk chair...this does come handy and keeps your back aligned...also helps you stretch...
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 9:23:54 PM UTC
I rest my eyes every 1 hour and I go do Tae-bo and Jazzercise every other day.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 11:57:57 PM UTC
I read or watch whatever kstar puts out: http://mobilitywod.blogspot.com/ This guy knows his stuff and will give you very practical advice to help you "take care of your junk". I also want to move to a standing desk soon. Get better Scott.
Thursday, September 02, 2010 2:31:16 AM UTC
Try Alexander Technique: http://www.alexanderlearningstudio.com/
Thursday, September 02, 2010 2:25:31 PM UTC
Hope you feel better soon. This inspires me to quit being cheap and spend the moderate amount of cash needed to make my workspace "sustainable".
Thursday, September 02, 2010 5:46:14 PM UTC
Hang in there Scott! The good news is exercise really works. Four years on and I still do the same stretches I learned at the chiropractor's office.

Soft couches and plush pillows are your mortal enemy in the short term: they allow your back to unsuspectingly twist itself into very bad knots. You think you're comfortable now, then when you wake up in the morning...

Penultimate last idea: if you're sitting at a desk to use the computer, push the mousepad far away from you. Enough that the elbow of your mousing hand rests on the desktop... 20+ years of using a mouse, no carpal tunnel to speak of.

Ultimate last idea: this would be a great Hanselminutes episode... "Nerd Fitness"? And a follow up "Brain Food for Programmers"!
Richie
Thursday, September 02, 2010 5:54:28 PM UTC
Bicycle commuting. The Seattle area, and Redmond in particular, is fairly bicycle friendly. Get rain gear from REI (pricy, but their Novarra brand is the best value for decent rain gear, especially during one of their sales).

Make sure that fancy desk allows you to separately adjust the keyboard/mouse and monitor heights. This may require adding an adjustable keyboard tray.
Thursday, September 02, 2010 5:59:34 PM UTC
I am hoping the Kinect will whip me into shape.
Saturday, September 04, 2010 2:41:13 AM UTC
dude. when your kids start to reading and find this blog entry their going to think you're a whimp. add a couple of zeros to the number of chin-ups!!
Saturday, September 04, 2010 2:46:07 PM UTC
Yoga for flexibility. I"ve always had flexibilty problems and they are only got worse over time. I picked up a noob yoga book (http://tinyurl.com/2d6nebh) a long time ago. After sticking with it for a month (~15 minutes every morning M-F) stuff starting working better. I always fall back on these when things start tightening up or I'm travelling. I never graduated beyond this book b/c is just unlocked the rest of my body's flexibility.

Walking helps flexibility. At work I drink a lot of water, so when it's time to get up and head to the little coders' room I take a few extra steps around the building I work on and call that a break.

Quick exercise routines. I try to hit the gym a few days a week as well, three out of seven at a minimum. But you don't have to go to a gym to work out; try resistence bands and use them in your home office or when you're on the road. The fitness center at work gave us a PPT deck of how to use them at our desks, and they work. And you can put up a chin-up over any doorway as well if you like.

Flexible Hands. I'm a freak about having hands and fingers that move well, and I when I play in my band and my fingers don't move fast enough, it's usually b/c they're tight. I use one of these (http://tinyurl.com/yj8ajg9) while I'm sitting down and don't need a mouse or keyboard. I have one in the desk at work, and in the glove box.

Hope you're feeling better soon!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 1:05:10 PM UTC
I understand if 2 and 4 are time consuming, mine 3 and 5 do.

Try to make space for some workout.
Heard your blogcast about relationship so I guess you have a new time-type coming up in addition to dad/mom-time, workout-time ;)

Personally I do Tae kwon-do in winter and bicycling in summer. The most effective (and boring) is running. :)

Take care of your body, it's more important than your job.
Thursday, September 23, 2010 1:24:24 PM UTC
I've been practicing yoga in a since last November. My thought on group yoga is that it's nice to have an instructor there for guidance, whereas, if I were to do it myself I would need to think a little more. I've experimented on my own from time to time, and while I find that enjoyable as well, group yoga, I believe, is more powerful. I would suggest at least trying a few classes before going off and trying to do it on your own.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.