If you've read these editorials for any length of time, you know that I try to keep an active lifestyle. I play baseball with other adults on summer Sundays, I study karate with my son, and I run daily. I consider myself to be in pretty good health, though I am due for a checkup. As a result of an active lifestyle at 40+ years old, I find myself nicked up, injured, and in pain on a regular basis. Most of this is soreness, and I've learned to vary the intensity to allow myself to heal.
Recently I've been plagued by back pain, specifically lower back muscles that have knocked me out of some activity. In fact, last weekend I spent a good portion of the weekend lying in bed, watching basketball on TV. While I enjoyed the basketball, it got old, and I felt guilty for not getting some chores done around the ranch I live on. I couldn't even get ahead much on work; being unable to sit up made it hard to type in bed.
As the week started, I found myself working at my desk, which was tolerable, but still a little painful. My back stiffened up if I sat too long, I regularly needed to stand up and just walk around a bit. It's better every day, and it's not anything serious, just irritated muscles, but it made me appreciate how hard it can be for some people to work.
We've had articles written before, including a great one by MVP Michael Coles about the Hazards of IT. As IT folks, we're often fairly sedentary, sitting around for half (or more) of the workday in a chair, looking at a screen. Except for those ten digits on the end of your hands, not a lot of muscles are being used or calories expended.
And that's a problem. It's not just in IT, but in many industries in the modern world people are more sedentary, not needing to use their bodies as often as in previous generations.
Many people I know in IT make it a point to have some type of active hobby, some sport or activity that gets them moving. However many of them don't, and I think that lack of activity, lack of regularly stressing your muscles can add up over time, putting you in a situation that you don't want to be in. We've had some of our regular contributors at SQLServerCentral post notes about their health issues, and I can commiserate with them. It's no fun to be in pain and still have to go to work.
I read last year that the best investment you can make for your retirement is to get healthy and get in better shape. With the loss of benefits and rising costs of care, I think that's good advice. It doesn’t ensure you won't get a chronic injury, but it can help you enjoy life more.
Remember to invest in yourself, in your health, just as you do in your career, with regular work.
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