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How to Stay Healthy When Learning SQL

So, maybe you’re learning SQL. Congratulations! Or maybe you already work as a data analyst, DBA, or data scientist. That’s great too! Either way, you are most likely spending hours in front of a computer. I will give you tips on how to avoid bad habits and take care of your health while learning and/or working with SQL.

Have you ever wondered how sitting in front of a computer affects your health? Have you noticed that after a day of work or hours of studying you feel back pain or fatigue? Maybe you already feel the more serious effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Lack of activity during the day is bad for your health.

Data That Will Frighten You

Lack of exercise and adequate healthy behavior in everyday life is the cause of nearly 6 percent of deaths worldwide.

Research from the World Health Organization shows that a sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise and adequate healthy behavior in everyday life, is the cause of nearly 6 percent of deaths worldwide. Detailed data can be found here. In combination with poor diet and stress, this is the main reason for 25% of breast and colon cancer cases, 27% of diabetes cases, and 30% of heart disease cases.

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This does not mean that you have to immediately throw your laptop away and go to the forest for a run (although sometimes you could stop scrolling Instagram and move a bit). However, it's important to remember simple rules that could not only extend your life but also make you feel happier, healthier, and more satisfied. Don't be afraid! After reading this article, you’ll know what to do.

Make Sure to Have Good Posture

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Nowadays, computers are an important part of most jobs. We also typically spend eight to ten hours per day in the office. Besides coffee breaks or short walks to the conference room, many of us sit for the majority of the day. This issue also exists when learning online. So, let’s look at how to learn SQL in a way that doesn’t harm your spine.

There are many myths about how we should sit at a desk. Many say, for example, that you should have your back straight at all costs. But this isn’t true. In the video below, you’ll see Cornell University ergonomics professor Dr. Alan Hedge explaining why.

Bad posture leads to overloading of the muscles, pain, and frustration. Over time, it can cause serious damage. So, how should you sit?

First of all, find a good chair. Its backrest should be adjusted so that you are tilted about 120 degrees. The lower back must cling to the backrest. It should be properly profiled and provide adequate support. Sitting in the right chair will make a noticeable difference when you spend hours learning SQL or creating an SQL report.

It is equally important for your feet to have support. They can lie evenly on the floor or rest on special footrests.

Also, make sure your wrists are straight and in a neutral position when writing SQL queries. Your elbows should rest by your sides at a 90-degree angle.

I am a fan of technology and gadgets. Therefore, the first thing that comes to mind are applications that help us think about posture. Here are some I tested myself:

  • Limber - This is a simple Chrome extension. It reminds you to straighten up every ten minutes and to take a break every 30 minutes. Taking breaks from working or studying will help you to not only move the blood supply to the body and brain but also better focus on tasks, collect thoughts, and work more efficiently. Simple, but very effective.
  • PosryreMinder - This is another Chrome extension that is easily customizable. Here you can set how often you will receive notifications. No more slouching over the laptop.
  • Nekoze - This is an interesting app for macOS. It uses a webcam to give you a warning whenever you sit in an unhealthy position. Note, it can be quite annoying, but it is very effective. The alarms appear as a cat emoji.
  • Posture Corrector - This Android app is more than just a reminder. It contains complete sets of exercises and tips on how to sit at a desk and be fit at the same time. The authors promise that while using it, you will lose 10 pounds and feel younger and healthier. Cool right?
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If you want to go even further, think about replacing the chair with an orthopedic ball. It will do two things for you. First, it will relieve your spine. Second, it will force your abdominal muscles to work constantly, which will work together with the muscles of the lower back to correct your posture. You can practice SQL while working on your six-pack.

Learning SQL + Exercises = Healthy SQL Code

We already have the basics. Now it's time for something more. Let’s say you are an analyst or learning SQL to become one. So, you need data and facts. Thirty minutes a day. That’s how much you need to exercise per day to be healthy. This is what experts from the American Heart Association say, who annually publish recommendations and advice on how to maintain your health and physical condition. You can read more about it here. Assuming that you are working on SQL queries during an eight-hour workday, you must take six breaks of five minutes each. And what to do during these breaks? Here are some suggestions that I found on YouTube. I admit that I did some of them writing this article.

These are the basic exercises. They don’t require any equipment. You can do all of the exercises with just your body weight, chair, and desk. It’s not too demanding, and the results are sufficient. You will not be the next Mr. Olympia, but you will have a healthy back and legs. No excuses. Encourage your office colleagues to work out together! It's fun, and it lets you integrate the team. Are you the boss? Set an example for your employees. Thanks to these exercises, they will get sick less often and take fewer sick days. So, they will get more work done and be happier doing it.

In this next clip, a professional trainer shows a set of exercises that only require a resistance band. The guy really knows what he's talking about. It’s worth a try!

The next two videos are not only physical exercises but also relaxation methods. Imagine that your boss comes to your desk and orders you to urgently create an SQL report, solve problems with a production database (for example, repair damaged data), or work with sensitive client data. It's a big responsibility and causes a lot of stress. These exercises will allow you to relax and approach the task with an open mind.

Yoga has been around for centuries. It is a method that deals with connections between the body and mind. We can get peace of mind through proper body training. So why not practice it in the office or while learning SQL? Thanks to the lotus flower position, you may be able to obtain SQL Zen.

The other way to inner peace comes from China. Millions of people practice Tai Chi every day, including seniors and young children. So, it doesn't require a certain fitness level, and it gives unexpectedly great results. Taking a break from a complicated SQL subquery or SQL JOINs, imagine that you are standing on the floor of the Forbidden City and performing the position of an archer. In my case, it looked more like a scene from Kung-Fu Panda, but I still had a lot of fun.

Similarly, if you are nervous about an important exam at your university, you also need some peace. While training SQL, train your body and mind at the same time. In this case, I also recommend an SQL Practice course on our LearnSQL.com platform. With plenty of real-world examples and challenging exercises, you’ll brush up your SQL coding skills before you know it. Completing this learning path will help you nail it!

Have a Healthy Diet

Most fitness experts believe that a proper diet is just as important or even more important than exercise. What you eat is fuel for your body. Without well-balanced meals, you will not squeeze out meaningful SQL queries from your brain or write an SQL report for which your boss will give you a raise.

One of the basic things you need to watch during the day is adequate hydration. It's the key to maintaining good health. When we drink enough water, our physical performance improves, we live longer, and we get sick less often. You don't believe it? Here is the scientific explanation. This is a lecture by Chris Gintz, IT legend at TEDx, who recently created the hydration measuring device. It lets you know if you need another glass of water by analyzing your breath. It’s worth listening to.

When it comes to healthy eating, this guy is a legend. Jamie Oliver is one of the best-known and widely-liked television chefs in the world. He has written a dozen culinary books and created countless television programs about cooking. Since 2005, he has also run the global Feed Me Better campaign to introduce schoolchildren to healthier foods. He has influenced many governments around the world that have changed school food policies. If you want to have a healthy diet, learn from this guy. Here are his suggestions for healthy snacks at work. You can eat straight from a jar full of good nutrition while learning SQL or working with databases. Bon appetit! Thinking about learning SQL? Do you have a meal break? See how much you can learn during it by reading the article A Non-Technical Introduction to Learning SQL on Your Lunch Break.

Summary

I'm not a doctor, and the suggestions in this article are just my opinions. If your back hurts or you have other ailments, consult a specialist. I work with SQL daily. You too? If you sit at a desk for hours struggling with SQL queries, it's important to know how to take care of your health during that time. It's actually easy, and you will see the effects almost immediately. You'll be happier, you’ll feel less pain, and you may lose a few inches around your waist.

And if you're learning SQL or getting ready to start this path, it's worth thinking about where to learn SQL. There are many methods. Some watch SQL tutorials on YouTube. Others read books. I am a fan of quick results, so I recommend interactive online SQL courses. The LearnSQL.com platform is the best place to learn SQL. Choose an SQL course from A to Z. It's a brilliantly structured learning path that will lead you through everything you need to learn to start your dream job as a data analyst or DBA. You don't need to have any IT experience. Willingness and motivation are enough. If I still haven't convinced you, read 5 Great Benefits of Learning SQL. It is worth getting to know SQL: it gives opportunities for development, a promotion at work, and better earnings. And now I remind you, get up, do some arm-waving, a few squats, and start learning! I wish you health and happiness.

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