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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Open Thread: Geeks & Fitness

by Ken Newquist / July 12, 2006

As a whole, Geek Nation isn't the healthiest group of people around. We eat too much junk food, we sleep too little, we work too much on computers, and we almost never exercise. That's the perception, and looking around at my friends and myself, I think there's a lot of truth to it. I for one am probably about 20-25 lbs overweight, and my geek/web developer lifestyle has given rise to health issues that are forcing me to exercise -- really and truly exercise -- for the first time in my adult life.

But more on that later. The purpose of this thread is to start a conversation about geeks and fitness (or their lack there of). Do you work out? If not, why? If so … what do you do? Are geeks healthier than I'm giving them credit for … or are things worse than I'm proposing? And what is it about being a geek that keeps so many of us away from the gym?

I have my own answers to these questions, and I'll be talking about them soon (on the podcast, and in posts on the site) but I wanted to hear from readers and listeners as well, and incorporate some of your views into my essays.

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Is it a coincidence that I've gained about 15 pounds since signing onto World of Warcraft? Or is it simply that I'm turning 37 tomorrow and the pounds are increasingly difficult to keep off??

As far as exercise goes, for me it's a time thing. I'm busier than ever, and it's hard to fit in a bike ride or whatever. It's not that I don't enjoy exercise - I actually almost crave it. I suppose if I do find myself with an hour to kill, there are other things that I'd rather do.

I just bought a nice bike at the beginning of the summer, with high hopes for kicking to the curb the 10 pounds I'd gained over the winter. A combination of busy schedule, crappy weather, and my reluctance to crawl out of bed an hour earlier than "necessary" haven't yet gotten me very far along towards my goal. :(

A busy gamer dad shares his thoughts on gaming, geek life, and other eclectic topics of the day.

I know I've gained some weight over the past couple of years that I would really like to get rid of. I have found that I enjoy getting out on rollerblades with my wife and our dog
in the evenings. It hasn't quite gotten to the point of helping me lose the pounds but has helped to keep more from collecting.

A Random Thought about Nothing

Heh -- that's a good term for it. I imagine WoW's caused more than a few folks to loosen up their belts a few notches.

I can relate to your "things I'd rather be doing" statement; that's certainly a big part of it. Do I go to the gym, or do I run home to have lunch with Sue and the kids? Or do I go to the gym, or work on the D&D campaign? Or ... well, the combinations are near infinite.

But at the same time, those are excuses. I never really liked exercising, at least not in social environments -- go biking for 20 miles? Hell yeah! Go to the gym, get changed and sweat with 20 other people? Eh, not so much (too many bad nerd nightmares from high school I suppose).

In a way, it's a good thing my body finally "snapped", because now it forces me to stop putting it off, and actually get out and get healthy (but they can still have my Mountain Dew when they pry it from my cold, dead hands).

You know, my lack of coordination really doesn't help me with the whole exercise thing -- the last time I tried rollerblading, I ended up with a road rash from my wrist to my elbow.

But like Erilar, I've got a bike in the basement, and I've only crashed one of those two or three times, so it's probably my safest option. (I think it's hereditary -- my dad once broke a rib falling off a rowing machine).

I think any exercise helps, though I've found that my more active regime, with weights and swimming, is doing a remarkable job of helping me bounce back from minor aches and pains (like sleeping wrong), so there's definitely something to be said for kicking it up a notch.

I do excercise, mainly through power-walking. I don't have much stamina for running or jogging - possibly due to a lack of conditioning. I do have a bit of a gut, however - that is in part because of an unfortunatly placed cyst that made doing crunches and sit-ups painful. That cyst has since been excised, I'll be able to work on that now too.

(Though, then again, there was that news article that was mentioned on Car Talk that a bit of a gut can actually help save your life during a car accident - as it can provide some valuble cushioning - too much though, and you're risking an heart attack).

Then again, I also don't eat that many fatty foods - benefits of having a diabetic mother.