Writing code for a living can make you fat. But it doesn’t have to be writing code. Anyone who sits behind a computer all day is likely to be suffering from sitting disease.

To write code we have to sit at a computer. To write code that works, we have to sit at a computer for a long time.

All that sitting means we are static. And being static means we are getting fat. It’s not too bad when you are young enough to get away with it, but your time will come – it is inevitable.

Sitting disease

There have been reports that sitting disease is a growing problem.

So the obvious thing to do is get some exercise, right? Well, yes but even that doesn’t help if you exercise for an hour then sit all day.

The no-brainer territory is we should take some exercise. Everyone that can should take some exercise. Obvious stuff, right?

The thing about being a coder is:

  • There is always that next little challenge
  • That little problem that will only take an hour (or so) to fix.
  • It takes much longer than that of course.

So the static life continues.

Be active

More and more people work behind a computer, or otherwise do static jobs. So at this stage, I’m not even going to specify what sort of exercise. As long as it makes you sweat and you keep it going for long enough, you’ll reap the benefits.

You need to be as active as possible during the day. Get up from your desk and walk around. Anything to keep moving rather than sitting on your arse.

The coders paradox

The more complex the task you are working on, the more you have to stick at it to find a solution. This is the coders paradox. When we need to be moving around, we are static.

The irony is: when I used to smoke I got more exercise. Because when I hit a problem, I’d go outside for a smoke and pace around thinking through the problem.

Now, I stay at my desk – drink more coffee and think it through there. And that means I don’t get to move about much.

For the, ahem more mature developer, it’s handy to keep the stress levels under control too. Positive stress is a good thing – we all need a bit of that. But, working to tight deadlines can lead to negative stress. Weight gain can be a sign of too much negative stress.

So what to do?

Get moving

I run. And when I can’t run, I cycle. And when the weather is shite, I walk – fast. There are weeks where I do all three. The point is to focus on finding a reason to move rather than park your butt.

There are obvious fitness benefits from running, cycling etc. It’s not those that I want to refer to here.

One of the most beneficial things about exercise is what it does for your mind. It is common for me to have a head full of worries as I set off for a run. By the time I’m back, my mind is clear and I feel relaxed.


Coding can make you fat – especially as you get older. I choose running to keep me fit. It doesn’t matter what you choose, though. As long as it makes you work hard and gets you moving.