If you want to get better you need to practice. Every serious athlete, both amateur and professional knows this. They train, they measure, they condition. They know that the harder they practice, the better they will get.
Interestingly, the response I get when I tell developers this is that they code all day long and get better at work. They don’t need to practice. Now there are also some developers who think differently. They practice with coding kata’s, they attend start-up weekends, they play with new technology. These developers get better. We need to take what these developers do and apply it to our health.
One big factor is that you generally see the same code everyday. By exposing ourselves to different code or different languages we can find new solutions to common problems. If you do the same thing everyday, your body is not going to improve much either. You are lucky if you maintain your health this way. Instead you need to push your limits. By pushing yourself, your body will improve. This doesn’t have to be a massive change. Embrace continuous improvement and just make a small change to your routine.
If you’re already involved in an activity, consider cross training. Yoga can help stretch your muscles to improve your running, swimming is a great all over exercise that can help you condition your body. There’s almost always an opportunity to get a bit of walking in.
A 15 minute walk can change your life.
By making small changes, we can incorporate them into our lifestyle and do them day after day. Small changes are sustainable. Some people get off one bus stop early or take the stairs at work. Others get a dog so they have to go for walks.
Another big factor is measurement. How do you know if you’re improving? Setting some measurement based goals can really motivate you to put more effort in and get results. How far can you run in 30 minutes? How long can you hold that difficult pose, how high can you jump. Simple measurements can give us a lot of feedback on how we’re doing.
Lastly, if you’re not sure how to improve, get a coach or trainer. The best athletes in the world have coaches so why don’t you?