The Healthy Programmer

Book description

Printed in full color.

To keep doing what you love, you need to maintain your own systems, not just the ones you write code for. Regular exercise and proper nutrition help you learn, remember, concentrate, and be creative--skills critical to doing your job well. Learn how to change your work habits, master exercises that make working at a computer more comfortable, and develop a plan to keep fit, healthy, and sharp for years to come.

Small changes to your habits can improve your health--without getting in the way of your work. The Healthy Programmer gives you a daily plan of action that's incremental and iterative just like the software development processes you're used to. Every tip, trick, and best practice is backed up by the advice of doctors, scientists, therapists, nutritionists, and numerous fitness experts.

We'll review the latest scientific research to understand how being healthy is good for your body and mind. You'll start by adding a small amount of simple activity to your day--no trips to the gym needed. You'll learn how to mitigate back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, and many other common sources of pain.

You'll also learn how to refactor your diet to properly fuel your body without gaining weight or feeling hungry. Then, you'll turn the exercises and activities into a pragmatic workout methodology that doesn't interfere with the demands of your job and may actually improve your cognitive skills.

You'll also learn the secrets of prominent figures in the software community who turned their health around by making diet and exercise changes. Throughout, you'll track your progress with a "companion iPhone app".

Finally, you'll learn how to make your healthy lifestyle pragmatic, attainable, and fun. If you're going to live well, you should enjoy it.


This book is intended only as an informative guide for those wishing to know more about health issues. In no way is this book intended to replace, countermand, or conflict with the advice given to you by your own healthcare provider including Physician, Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Registered Dietician, and other licensed professionals.

Keep in mind that results vary from person to person. This book is not intended as a substitute for medical or nutritional advice from a healthcare provider or dietician. Some people have a medical history and/or condition and/or nutritional requirements that warrant individualized recommendations and, in some cases, medications and healthcare surveillance.

Do not start, stop, or change medication and dietary recommendations without professional medical and/or Registered Dietician advice. A healthcare provider should be consulted if you are on medication or if there are any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention. Do not change your diet if you are ill, or on medication except under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Neither this, nor any other book or discussion forum is intended to take the place of personalized medical care of treatment provided by your healthcare provider.

This book was current as of January, 2013 and as new information becomes available through research, experience, or changes to product contents, some of the data in this book may become invalid. You should seek the most up to date information on your medical care and treatment from your health care professional. The ultimate decision concerning care should be made between you and your healthcare provider.

Information in this book is general and is offered with no guarantees on the part of the author, editor or The Pragmatic Programmers, LLC. The author, editors and publisher disclaim all liability in connection with the use of this book.

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Table of contents

  1.  Foreword
  2.  Acknowledgments
  3.  Preface
    1. Why Should I Read This Book?
    2. Who Should Read This Book?
    3. What’s in This Book?
    4. You Can’t Fool Nature
    5. What Does It Mean to Be Healthy?
  4. 1. Making Changes
    1. Unit-Testing Your Health
    2. The Mind-Body Connection
    3. An Iterative Approach to Health
    4. The Science Behind Habits
    5. Reprogramming Your Habits
    6. Retrospective
  5. 2. Bootstrapping Your Health
    1. Thinking on Your Feet
    2. Walking Your Way to Better Health
    3. The Time of Your Life
    4. Learning How to Walk
    5. Getting Out the Door
    6. Retrospective
  6. 3. A Farewell to Chairs?
    1. Sitting Considered Harmful
    2. Standing Up for the Truth
    3. Enhancing Your Workstation
    4. Retrospective
  7. 4. Agile Dieting
    1. An Iterative Approach to Dieting
    2. Balanced Nutrition Over Idiosyncratic Diets
    3. Eating Your Brains Out
    4. Counting Calories Over Following Trends
    5. Adjusting Your Caloric Intake
    6. Individual Tastes Over Predefined Menus
    7. Retrospective
  8. 5. Preventing Headaches and Eye Strain
    1. Unit-Testing Your Vision
    2. Avoiding Computer Vision Syndrome
    3. Avoiding Headache Triggers
    4. Treating Headache Symptoms
    5. Retrospective
  9. 6. Preventing Back Pain
    1. Unit-Testing Your Core Muscles
    2. Understanding the Anatomy of the Back
    3. Strengthening Your Powerhouse
    4. Developing Better Ergonomics
    5. Retrospective
  10. 7. Preventing Wrist Pain
    1. Unit-Testing Your Wrists
    2. Understanding the Causes of Wrist Pain
    3. Using Exercise to Prevent Pain
    4. Reducing Tension with the Alexander Technique
    5. Restricting Movement with Braces
    6. Retrospective
  11. 8. Making Exercise Pragmatic
    1. Exercising Your Brain
    2. Taking Healthy Pomodoro Breaks
    3. Keeping a Log
    4. Playing Games with Your Health
    5. Taking Your Fitness to the Web
    6. Retrospective
  12. 9. Thinking Outside the Cube
    1. Dosing on Vitamin D
    2. Shedding Light on the Vitamin D Hype
    3. Boosting Your Immune System
    4. Dealing with the Common Cold
    5. Thinking Under the Trees
    6. Retrospective
  13. 10. Refactoring Your Fitness
    1. Warming Up
    2. Understanding the Dimensions of Fitness
    3. Unit-Testing Your Fitness
    4. Upgrading Your Hardware
    5. Retrospective
  14. 11. Teaming Up
    1. Message-Passing
    2. Investing in Your Health
    3. Playing Well with Others
    4. Building a Better Team
    5. Retrospective
  15. 12. Onward, Healthy Programmer
    1. Continuous Improvement
    2. Creating Social Habits
    3. The Joy of Being Healthy
  16. A1. Goals
  17. A2. Examples
    1. Examples of Fruit/Vegetable Servings
    2. Example Day
  18. A3. Further Reading
    1. Books
    2. Publications
  19. A4. Bibliography

Product information

  • Title: The Healthy Programmer
  • Author(s): Joe Kutner
  • Release date: June 2013
  • Publisher(s): Pragmatic Bookshelf
  • ISBN: 9781937785314