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The Healthy Programmer: Get Fit, Feel Better, and Keep Coding (Pragmatic Programmers) [Kindle Edition]

Joe Kutner
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To keep doing what you love, you need to maintain your own systems, not just the ones you write code for. Regular exercise and proper nutrition help you learn, remember, concentrate, and be creative--skills critical to doing your job well. Learn how to change your work habits, master exercises that make working at a computer more comfortable, and develop a plan to keep fit, healthy, and sharp for years to come.

Small changes to your habits can improve your health--without getting in the way of your work. The Healthy Programmer gives you a daily plan of action that's incremental and iterative just like the software development processes you're used to. Every tip, trick, and best practice is backed up by the advice of doctors, scientists, therapists, nutritionists, and numerous fitness experts.

We'll review the latest scientific research to understand how being healthy is good for your body and mind. You'll start by adding a small amount of simple activity to your day--no trips to the gym needed. You'll learn how to mitigate back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, and many other common sources of pain.

You'll also learn how to refactor your diet to properly fuel your body without gaining weight or feeling hungry. Then, you'll turn the exercises and activities into a pragmatic workout methodology that doesn't interfere with the demands of your job and may actually improve your cognitive skills.

You'll also learn the secrets of prominent figures in the software community who turned their health around by making diet and exercise changes. Throughout, you'll track your progress with a "companion iPhone app":​healthy-programmer/id576258650.

Finally, you'll learn how to make your healthy lifestyle pragmatic, attainable, and fun. If you're going to live well, you should enjoy it.


This book is intended only as an informative guide for those wishing to know more about health issues. In no way is this book intended to replace, countermand, or conflict with the advice given to you by your own healthcare provider including Physician, Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Registered Dietician, and other licensed professionals.

Keep in mind that results vary from person to person. This book is not intended as a substitute for medical or nutritional advice from a healthcare provider or dietician. Some people have a medical history and/or condition and/or nutritional requirements that warrant individualized recommendations and, in some cases, medications and healthcare surveillance.

Do not start, stop, or change medication and dietary recommendations without professional medical and/or Registered Dietician advice. A healthcare provider should be consulted if you are on medication or if there are any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention. Do not change your diet if you are ill, or on medication except under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Neither this, nor any other book or discussion forum is intended to take the place of personalized medical care of treatment provided by your healthcare provider.

This book was current as of January, 2013 and as new information becomes available through research, experience, or changes to product contents, some of the data in this book may become invalid. You should seek the most up to date information on your medical care and treatment from your health care professional. The ultimate decision concerning care should be made between you and your healthcare provider.

Information in this book is general and is offered with no guarantees on the part of the author, editor or The Pragmatic Programmers, LLC. The author, editors and publisher disclaim all liability in connection with the use of this book.

Printed in full color.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Joe Kutner is a programmer and former college athlete. As a physical fitness trainer in the Army, Joe learned that small changes can make big differences in peoples' health. Now he's turned his attention to helping software developers who want to improve their lifestyle.


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4.5 von 5 Sternen
4.5 von 5 Sternen
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
5.0 von 5 Sternen Klassebuch 22. November 2013
Von Heiko
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Interessante und zum Nachdenken anregende Zusammenstellung der aktuellen Lage für Schreibtischtäter - witzige Bilder und manchmal interessant zu lesen, wie das in den Staaten gemacht wird, wenn man einen deutschen Hintergrund im Bereich Sport hat. Sehr empfehlenswert für alle vermeintlich Cola- und pizzasüchtigen Hacker :-)
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
+ leicht nachvollziehbar und anwendbar
+ vermittelt medizinische Erkenntnisse, ohne zuviel Fachwissen vorauszusetzen
+ erklaert und begruendet mit belegten medizinischen Studien, was gesund ist und was nicht und warum man es tun sollte oder vermeiden sollte
+ animiert und motiviert zum Nachmachen
+ ziel-orientiert mit Check-Listen
+ gut strukturiert
+ geschrieben im Stile eines Manuals mit IT-Begriffen (Scrum, ...), daher wird man als Informatiker eher angesprochen, aber d.h. nicht, dass das Buch nicht allgemein lesbar ist
+ zu empfehlen fuer SW-Entwickler und Leute mit sitzenden Taetigkeiten/Berufen
+ einige Punkte kannte ich bereits und kann daher aus eigener Erfahrung bestaetigen, dass sie funktionieren (schlag nach bei Dr. Dukan)
+ Highlights: Kennzahlen, Bewegung, Vitamin-D, Diaet/Ernaehrung, Ruecken-/Sitztraining, ...
+ Kurzform (aber das ist nicht alles):
o besorg dir einen Schrittzaehler (ein kleines technisches Spielzeug sollte einen IT-Menschen ja zusaetzlich ansprechen, kann er ja gleich mit einer App verbinden)
o beweg dich mehr (mindestens 20 Min pro Tag sollten reichen)
o miss und vergleiche wichtige/einfache Eckdaten wie Puls, Blutdruck und Gewicht vorher/nachher und du wirst den positiven Unterschied feststellen
+ der Autor legt Wert darauf, dass der Leser zum Mitmachen motiviert wird (just do it) und die Uebungen im normalen Tagesablauf ohne grossen Mehraufwand einplanbar sind
= empfehle (wegen der Abbildungen) eher die broschierte gedruckte Version als das e-book
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.9 von 5 Sternen  13 Rezensionen
16 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen One of the best common sense guides to health and fitness 12. August 2013
Von Ben Rothke - Veröffentlicht auf
Diet books are literally a dime a dozen. They generally benefit only the author, publisher and Amazon, leaving the reader frustrated and bloated. With a failure rate of over 99%, diet books are the epitome of a sucker born every minute.

One of the few diet books that can offer change you can believe in is The Healthy Programmer: Get Fit, Feel Better, and Keep Coding. Author Joe Kutner observes that nearly every popular diet fails and the reason is that they are based on the premise of a quick fix without focusing on the long-term core issues. It is inevitable that these diets will fail and the dieters at heart know that. It is simply that they are taking the wrong approach. This book is about the right approach; namely a slow one. With all of the failed diet books, Kutner is one of the few that has gotten it right.

While the title of the book says it's for programmers, it is germane to anyone whose job requires them to be at a desk for extended amounts of time.

Kutner is himself a programmer who builds Ruby and Rails applications, and a former college athlete and Army Reserve physical fitness trainer.

The book focuses on two areas that require change: regular exercise and proper nutrition; and it details the steps necessary to create a balanced lifestyle.

While popular diet books require rapid and major lifestyle changes and promise quick weight-loss, the book notes that small changes to your habits can provide the long-term effects that can improve your health. The book focuses on incremental changes and sustainability, not about losing x pounds in x weeks.

The book is different (read: effective) as opposed to other diet and lifestyle books, in that its goal is to make your healthy lifestyle pragmatic, attainable, and fun. It is only with those aspects that long-term change be possible.

As to programmers, Kutner writes that programming requires intense concentration that often causes them to neglect other aspects of their lives; the most common of which is their health. People's bodies have not evolved to accommodate a lifestyle of sitting and there are many negative health effects from it.

The book takes a start small approach, rather than one of drastic changes. In chapter 2, it notes the myriad benefits of walking. It states that walking is a powerful activity that can stimulate creative thinking (a required trait for a good programmer) and is a great way to bootstrap your health. The chapter details the ways in which a few short walks during the day can have a dramatic positive effect on your life.

Chapter 3 is about the dangers of chairs and sitting for long periods of time. It details a number of ways to counter the dangers of sitting. It also notes that while sometimes you simply can't get away from your chair, and when that happens, you can make sitting less dangerous by forcing your muscles to contract without even getting up. It then details a number of different calisthenics to use to do this.

Chapter 4 - Agile Dieting - is perhaps the best part of the book. It details how to fight the real causes of weight gain and details proven solutions that work. That chapter repeatedly uses terms like iterative, sustainable, slow to show what it really takes to lose weight and achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Kutner notes that most of the popular fad diets are idiosyncratic and unbalanced. They will provide short-term benefits, but ultimately fail miserably. The chapter quotes research data on what needs to be in a balanced diet. It then notes that almost every fad diet violates those needs. Nutrition needs to be rounded and well-balanced and the fad diets for that reason will only work in the short term.

This book is everything the fad diet books are not and this is most manifest in chapter 4 where Kutner writes one should cut calories slowly. This is based on research which shows that quick drastic weight loss is counterproductive. While the fad diets talk about drastic caloric changes, Kutner suggests dropping your intake slower, about 100 calories every two weeks until you get you your targeted caloric intake level.

While much of the book is on fitness and nutrition, it takes a complete body approach. Chapter 5 details the importance of eye health. This is an important topic since the average programmer spends much of their week behind a monitor.

Kutner writes about computer vision syndrome (CVS); an eye condition resulting from focusing the eyes on a monitor for extended amounts of time. Symptoms of CVS include headaches, blurred vision, neck pain, redness in the eyes, fatigue, eye strain, dry eyes, irritated eyes, double vision, vertigo/dizziness, polyopia, and difficulty refocusing the eyes. The book also details methods in which to minimize the effects of CVS, and how not to become a victim of it. Kutner writes that CVS is what most programmers refer to as life. But it does not have to be that way.

The rest of the book covers other physical ailments that plague programmers. This runs the gamut from headaches, backaches, wrist problem, carpel tunnel, head strain and much more. Most of these problems can be obviated if one follows proper ergonomics practices and employs some of the physical conditioning detailed in the book.

Another area where Kutner goes against the tide is with stretching. For many people, stretching is an integral part of their pre-workout preparation. In the book, he quotes research that stretching may do more harm than good, and ultimately provides little benefit for most people.

Another theme of the book is using goals as an impetus for change. The book lists 16 goals which can be used as a progressive framework to improve your health. These goals include buying a pedometer, finding your resting heart rate, getting a negative result on Reverse Phalen's test and other lifestyle changes.

Given the preponderance of obesity, diabetes and other maladies associated with a sedentary lifestyle, this may be one of the most important non-programming books that every developer should read and take to heart.

The book has hundreds of bits of excellent advice and subtle lifestyle suggestions that over time can make a significant difference to your health.

The book concludes with the observation that programmers often say the hardest part of software development begins when a product is released. The real work, maintenance, continues on, much like your health. You must sustain a stat of wellness for the rest of your life, and you need to continue setting goals, iterating and making small improvements,

For many programmers, they love their job but not the lifestyle problems that come with it. For the programmer that wants the challenges of the professional and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, The Healthy Programmer: Get Fit, Feel Better, and Keep Coding, may be a life changing book, and should find its rightful place on every programmer's desk.
6 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A health guide directed at desk-bound workers 10. Juli 2013
Von Robert L Miller - Veröffentlicht auf
When I heard about this book I purchased it while still in pre-release form through the publisher's beta release program. I had seen the presentation by the author at various venues regarding the health issues that a desk worker faces and things they can do to improve their overall health. I am a programmer and have really begun to feel the effects of sitting behind a desk all day for so many years.

I like the book. Its style is in the form of many of The Pragmatic Bookshelf titles and is very approachable. It can be read by people who just want to know what to do and also has detail balloons with information to satisfy people who want to know more technical information.

A few items this book addresses that I keyed into first:
-Back strain
-Eye strain
-Wrist pain (a big deal for me)
-How to evaluate and adjust the foods you eat. Being "Agile" with your dietary approach
-low-intensity exercises (with pictures of people doing them). Some you can do in the office, others you could do at home

The author also talks about how exercise and food adjustments can make you more creative and intelligent.

This book fits my approach to health much better than others I have seen because I am a desk worker, and I wanted help with things I can apply within my environment. It really comes down to happiness, and if I get healthier I equate that to having a higher baseline happiness and quality of life.

P.S. I forgot to mention that there is a free companion iPhone app which is very closely matched to the book.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Does fine job spreading useful information about healthy lifestyle for programmers 2. September 2014
Von vrto - Veröffentlicht auf
We, the programmers, don't use our body as it was intended to by mother nature. We sit all day and stare into screen. Not exactly healthy activity, aye?

Healthy lifestyle and regular exercising are essential not only to our health, but to our productivity as well. Healthy body - healthy soul. Few programmers realize this, but it's getting better! The single most important thing about this book is that is spreads the useful word. And it spreads it in a way that is easy to consume by programmers.

You're gonna find out some interesting things; on sitting, chairs, standing tables, walking, running, diet, exercising, healthy companies and so on. I try to have fairly balanced diet and get enough of exercise, but I still learned plenty of interesting facts. I consulted some things in this book with more athletic friends of mine and even they were (pleasantly) surprised with some things that book mentions.

Yeah yeah. It's nothing revolutionary. Yes there are other very similar books. Yes this is just normal 'healthy lifestyle with fitness' book with some obscure programmer jargon (like unit testing your body and refactoring your diet and so on). But hey, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Note: I actually bought audiobook and listened to it on my commute. It's one of few audiobooks on 'programming-ish' things available and it's really nice to listen to.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Much needed 26. Januar 2014
Von Yuan-Yuan - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
Being a programmer myself I had to laugh at the presentation: "Unit Testing Your Health", "An Iterative Approach to Health". But I also love the fact that beyond the cliché (programmers don't ever move their butts and their diet consists of sugary soda and junk food - certainly not true in my case), the author addresses real issues: sedentary work (-> back pain issues), eye strain, wrist pain.
Both motivated me to buy the book and it's paying out.
Only drawback of the title/presentation is that office workers other than programmers might not be drawn to it. Don't let the title fool you: this book is for any office worker who values his or her health and who strives to have a healthier lifestyle.
5.0 von 5 Sternen Great for anyone with a desk job 31. Dezember 2013
Von Wallace V Savard - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I was not a programmer but I did have a desk job (now retired) and I wish I had this book when I was working. It is very well written and easy to read. All fitness recommendations are backed up with studies. For those fitness topics where studies have not been done or where there is little evidence, it is so stated. Very practical advise that anyone at any fitness level can adapt. I would recommend the book to anyone whose job requires a lot of sitting.
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