Staying Active

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Today we have a guest editorial from Grant Fritchey as Steve is away on his sabbatical.

Yesterday I tried for a new personal record in the back squat and failed. Twice. I try to work out regularly, at least three times a week for formal workouts. In addition to this, I sometimes do pretty heavy yard work; chainsawing logs, moving logs, splitting logs, in addition to everything else you think of when I say “yard work.” I also try (emphasis on that word try) to eat right. Yet, if you’ve seen a picture of me, I’m more than a little tubby, so this isn’t about bragging.

No, the point here is that in addition to the time I spend learning and doing stuff in and around data and IT, I also spend time trying to stay fit. Why? Well, some of it is purely selfish. Yeah, I’m tubby, but I could be tubbier. Keeping the weight down, I look better and feel better. Some of it isn’t selfish at all. I want to be healthy for my family so I can support them and take part in the things they do. However, one of the most significant driving factors for me is the link between exercise and mental health.

We work in an incredibly comfortable job. We sit inside climate-controlled environments (yes, there are exceptions, but they’re exceptional). We poke at keyboards. Sitting at a computer is not physically demanding work. Yet, we’re also doing things that could affect our organization, our co-workers, even other people’s lives. This work can add a great deal of stress to us, both physically and mentally, and we need to deal with both. Exercise has been proven to help with both.

Today’s suggestion, if you don’t exercise, start. Get up, take a walk. Do a little raking in the yard, assuming you’re not looking at a foot of snow. Start a formal exercise program. Don’t have legs -- do pull-ups or presses. Get active and do something. First, it’ll help you physically. Second, you are thinking about your friends and family who want you around. Finally, you’re taking care of your own stress and mental well being by engaging your physical well being. I’m, of course, not suggesting that anyone do anything that leads to harm, but all of us can do something to be more active and more physically fit. It will help.

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