This week, we’re talking about how we stay healthy at CodePen.

1:09 We’re tech workers. We stare at computer monitors all day. Our default state is “not moving”.

We care about our health here at CodePen, so we try to be aware of certain things that affect our health, including diet, activity and exercise, and ergonomics.

It’s easy to push health aside for work

2:20 It was easier to be healthy in college or when we were younger, but when you work for yourself, at a startup or have kids, your health can take a backseat to things that feel more important. Also, working two jobs is usually terrible for your health.

3:33 We’ve all been through phases where we’ll get really into being healthy, but then work gets a little busy and we fall off the wagon. We’ve all been there. It’s crunch time; you’e gotta get the work done tonight. Drinking diet cokes, slamming gummy bears, and staying up late isn’t the way to go.

4:440 At the moment, Team CodePen is doing pretty well as far as our health is concerned. Tim has been doing a lot of outdoor activities with his friends, Alex has been spending time reading about health and diet, and Chris has started going to a health and fitness camp for adults and has lost 70 pounds (he’s looking ripped lately).

Eat better, eat less

8:18 Being healthy has more to do with your diet. Exercise is only about 20% of the equation. What you eat affects your health and mood in a bigger way than going to the gym does.

You can’t compete with what you eat.

9:27 Eating healthy is important but you have to stay active too. Regardless of how you feel, you have to make time to exercise and work out. You’ll feel better afterwards.

Watch out for free cake at work

12:27 Be careful if you’re working somewhere that makes it easy to eat or drink unhealthy things (free donuts, soda, cake, chips, etc… ). Even just a little bit of junk food every day will add up over time.

Also, you can avoid that after lunch, 3 o’clock mental lull by taking a trip to the gym right after lunch.

Healthy people write better emails

16:27 If you take care of yourself, eat healthy food and exercise regularly, you’ll feel better about yourself which will translate into how you treat and communicate with other people.

You’ll write better email when you’re in a positive mood.

17:10 What about micro-optimizations? Standing Desk? Medicine ball? Split keyboard?

The CodePen jury is still out when it comes to standing desks, but we all agree that an ergonomic keyboard is a great investment. Check the show notes for the Wirecutter’s recommendations.

Great advice from highly un-qualified tech workers:

20:39 If you’re interested in improving your health, Team CodePen recommends these 3 things:

1. Get into group activities.

Let’s face it; running kinda sucks. But call a friend to run with you, and it sucks a little less! Having a friend to help motivate you will keep you on track and make exercise less tedious.

2. Get enough sleep.

You’re more likely to binge on junk food when you haven’t slept enough. Get as much sleep as you need, don’t skimp here. Be consistent about your sleeping schedule if you can.

3. Don’t rely on willpower.

You won’t always have the willpower. Use planning instead. Prepare some healthy meals in advance, and you won’t have to fight temptation to eat unhealthy or convenient junk food. Schedule gym time or appointments and you’ll won’t have to have that debate with yourself about weather or not you want to go.

Scott Adams has some great stuff to say about this, check out why he believes in systems instead of goals.

There will be bad days. Don’t give up.

You will have bad days. You will have days where you don’t have the time to spend an hour at the gym, or you gorge yourself at a Chinese all you can eat buffet.

Try to at least fit in 15 minutes of something. Do some jump rope or jumping jacks. Just do something. You’ll feel better if you do.

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