This is going to be a bit of a different article since I am not covering a technical topic, but that doesn't mean this is any less important. If anything the topic of physical health and fitness is one of the most important topics I have ever talked about. Learning to incorporate fitness and health into your life will not only make you healthier and live longer, but it will also drastically increase the quality of your life and your abilities as a developer.
How I started My Fitness Journey
First I want to talk about the importance of fitness by explaining what being physically active can do for you, but instead of talking in purely hypotheticals I want to use concrete examples from my own life. To do that we need to go all the way back to the summer before my senior year of highschool. This was before I even knew what programming was and before I did anything fitness related. At this point in my life most of my leisure activities where very sedentary, and because of this I was a very scrawny kid.
Luckily at this time, I met a guy named Zach, who I became good friends with and he introduced me to the world of weight lifting. Over the course of the next year I spent countless nights struggling at the gym lifting weights, getting into pretty good shape, and slowly came to realize how much better my life was after I started lifting.
How Working Out Gives You Energy
The biggest benefit I noticed, by far, was my massive increase in energy. It seems entirely counterintuitive that going to the gym and exhausting yourself lifting weights or running could give you more energy, but it really does. This huge energy increase was most apparent at my job, since I worked long hours (about 10 hours a day, 7 days a week) with lots and lots of stairs. In a single day cleaning movie theaters I would climb around 200 flights of stairs and walk many, many miles, but since I was physically active both at work and outside of work I never felt exhausted or out of energy.
I know this seems ridiculous. I didn't even really believe it myself until I stopped working out. My Freshman year in college I was very lazy and inconsistent with working out and my energy levels plummeted. I felt tired even after getting a full night's sleep, even though my day had no physically demanding tasks or work. My Freshman year of college was probably the least demanding point in my life since it was the first time in a long time I had no job, yet I was more tired than ever. It wasn't until I started becoming more physically active and lifting again my Sophomore year that I realized my energy levels were directly tied to how physically active I was.
How Physical Fitness Increases Your Brain Power
The other thing I realized after getting back into fitness my Sophomore year was that my willpower, productivity, and mental capacity were directly impacted by my physical fitness. My Freshman year I didn't really do much past the basics required by school and I felt mentally drained and had no desire or willpower to do anything.
My Sophomore year, though, was the complete opposite. I had an abundance of willpower and desire to learn and do things. This is when I first started teaching myself web development and I created countless projects that year with the immense drive I had for learning new things. This great shift in willpower was directly related to my renewed physical activity at the gym. If I had not forced myself to start working out again I may never have had the drive to learn web development.
Even Web Dev Simplified would not exist without physical fitness, because I would never have the drive to keep up with creating YouTube videos and running a business without the mental fortitude that physical activity gives me.
Physical Fitness Never Ends
This leads perfectly into my final point, which is that physical fitness is a journey that never ends. In order to reap the amazing benefits of increased energy, willpower, intelligence, and so much more you need to continue to be physically active. I was very recently reminded of this the last month, because I have been skipping out on physical activity a lot lately.
My normal gym schedule has turned into me skipping more days that I actual go and my energy levels and willpower have plummeted. I have been pushing off creating videos and writing articles until the last moment. Even this article is being written only 14 hour before it is supposed to go live. It is scary how quickly the benefits that being physically active give you can disappear when you stop, so it is important to go into any form of physical activity with the intent to make it a lifelong habit.
If you value energy, willpower, and mental fortitude then it is absolutely essential that you include physical activity into your life. Even just a few weeks of physical activity is enough to start seeing the incredible benefits in your life, so I urge you to start walking, running, lifting weights, or playing sports if you aren't already.