Why Exercise Helps Me Code


Andrew Vo-Nguyen

June 22, 2021

2 min read

Every time I have been in a rut or found myself struggling to solve a problem, usually the last thing I want to do is to stop thinking about the problem. Sometimes I get obsessive, lose sleep and can barely focus on anything else. It's like I cannot move past GO until I get it sorted. 😫

To keep up with the sedentary lifestyle in which programming conduces, I like to train at least 3 times a week. Sometimes it's hard to get motivated to do physical exercise but I have found a good routine in which I force myself to get those workout sessions in.

What I have found, as a result of working out is that it does a few positive things for me:

  1. 🧠 It helps me clear my mind of the recursive cycle of thinking about the problem and hitting a road block.
  2. πŸƒ It gives me an escape from programming, mentally and physically away from the computer.
  3. 🀷 Sometimes the solution or the path to a solution comes to me while I work out. When it happens, it feels like magic and I can't wait to go back to the computer to implement what I have discovered.
  4. πŸ₯€ It gets my creative juices flowing. I quite literally have not only solved solutions mid-workout, but I have come up with new project ideas, new features for existing projects and new blog post ideas (including this one).
  5. πŸ€Έβ€β™‚οΈ Working out first thing in the morning, although expends energy, gives me more energy throughout the day to code.
  6. 😁 It gives my mood, mentality, metabolism and overall, my day a kick start. Being that the physical exercise is probably the hardest thing i'll do all day, getting it out of the way in the morning makes everything else (including solving problems), a walk in the park.

I don't know the exact science behind what happens when I work out. I assume it has something to do with releasing endorphins which helps to cope with stress. All I know is stress and dwelling on one thing clouds my thoughts, and as a result it holds me back from progressing. A good, high intensity workout can help alleviate this, and not to mention the health benefits gained. πŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺ.