Why Network Engineers Need Physical Exercise

Seeing a network engineer with a big belly or rounded body is not rare. Also, I have seen network engineers who are skinny to the point I feel sorry for them. But, do you see often a physically fit network engineer? I doubt so.

I don’t know why this does happen. There is no direct correlation between the two. On the opposite: a network engineer must be fit or at least do regular physical exercise.

Why do I mean with physical exercise?

Being a network engineer means to me a guy or a gal who, not only moves his/her neurons in the job, but also the body. I know how pathetic working on a regular office job looks like: sitting on a desk the whole day staring at the computer screen, writing Emails, typing fiercely to make people think we are serious on the task, scratching the head while formulating the best political answer for the Email, counting the hours after the midday meal, signing delivery papers from IT partners… I have been there and I hated it.

You need to move more.

Here are some ideas:

  • choose a job where are at least 50% of the time moving and not sitting. Health is more important than career. If you don’t agree, then I dare you to sell your health against an amount of money.. Yes, some of us network engineers design networks and make presentations all the time. But that is not an excuse. You still have time to workout after the job. No time? Bullshit, you are lying to yourself.
  • When you receive a new delivery, instead of leaving the boxes on the floor, arrange them on shelves in your dedicated company warehouse.
  • take the stairs. Be slow and breathe consciously. Your knee suffers? You feel pain on it? fuck it. That is because you probably led a bad lifestyle for a long time..
  • take a longer route to the toilet
  • if you can afford it: go for a short walk during lunch break, or even better: do your prayer in a Masjid

What are some mental benefits of physical exercise?

It is true that we exercise mainly to avoid obesity, blood pressure and heart diseases. But do you know that exercising regularly improves your cognitive functions? In other words, working out your body improves your learning abilities. It helps finish one more chapter or take another round of flashcards.

John Ratey, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of the book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, says that “Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning. Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.”

Dr. Scott McGinnis, an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School, says “Even more exciting is the finding that engaging in a program of regular exercise of moderate intensity over six months or a year is associated with an increase in the volume of selected brain regions.”

At the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise can increase the hippocampal volume in the brain of older women. The hippocampus sits in the limbic system and allows to transfer information from the short-term memory to the long-term memory. The research was done on a group of women diagnosed with probable mild cognitive impairment. You can guess what happens to a normal hippocampus when we exercise.

Figure: the hippocampus part of the limbic system – excerpt from Wikipedia

So which physical exercise should I do?

You probably are now tempted to start a workout routine. But you don’t know which workout is better.

My opinion? It doesn’t matter, as long as it busts your ass and you stick to it. I don’t care whether you run, jog, lift weight, do Karate… If you sweat regularly, then you are on the right track. If not, then you are fooling yourself and wasting time.

I have a preference for workout programs made by professionals. My all-time favourite is P90X, by Tony Horton. I love the variation of exercises. But years after doing it in chunks, I decided that wanted something more condense, shorter in time, and which raises my cardio performance.

That is why I switched to Insanity Max 30.

What about you? What are your favourite workout routines? What is your top exercise program?

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