Nick Ang profile picture

Nick Ang

Programming is like exercise

exercise Photo by Tikkho Maciel on Unsplash

It’s been a while, but I finally managed to find a good time and the willpower to drag my ass out for a little exercise today.

Mei and I climbed Singapore’s highest natural peak - the Bukit Timah Hill, coming in at a not so staggering 164 meters. It somehow still managed to feel exhausting…

But it didn’t use to.

A month earlier, we’d climbed the hill every morning, whose foot was a mere five-minute walk from our home. In about 2 weeks of consistently doing this, the hike up started feeling more manageable. It was almost as though my legs were lighter and my lungs held more air.

The difference? Hikes up the hill last month were more enjoyable than they were today.

Programming is just like exercise

As I panted, my mind wandered. And suddenly it became clear to me that programming is just like exercise - the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Stop programming for a while and damn, it’s a bitch to get started again!

Perhaps you’ve felt this way at some point in your programming career too. You used Python extensively at your previous company, and have forgotten most of the syntax, quirks, and neat tricks months later. And when something at your new job requires you to use Python again, you feel heavy, because you have to pause at practically every line of code and ask questions like:

  • How do I iterate through an array again?
  • What’s the syntax for the ternary operator again…
  • What was the difference between a list and tuple again?
  • Is this a reserved word in Python?

No? Just me? Ok… I admit, this happens to me, and I haven’t yet found a decent solution except to keep using the language (like keeping up an exercise regime).

If I were realistic though, I’m not going to do that. It’s just not sustainable to keep up with multiple languages constantly.

But I suppose a weekly exercise regime ought to be sustainable…

Nick Ang profile picture
Husband, dad, and software engineer that writes. Big on learning something everyday and trying to have fun before the lights go out.
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