The Writer’s Workout

Workout

 

by Vincent Mars

As writers, we may be writing blog posts, articles, stories, schoolwork, research papers, or sales reports constantly, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay glued to our desks all day. Writing may be a sedentary activity that ties us to a desk most of the time, but at the same time it can offer us plenty of opportunities to be active, and often, even give us the rare benefit of a flexible schedule into which we can easily integrate exercising. In between writing sessions, as well as before and after them, we should make an effort to stay active.

In my previous post I wrote about healthy foods for writers. Now I think is a good moment to draw attention to the importance of being an “active” writer. Studies suggest that sitting (at a desk) for more than 4 hours a day is unhealthy, and can even shorten our life. From weight gain to heart problems, the dangers of inactivity are well-documented and there’s no need to repeat them here.

The benefits of being active are equally well known. I would like to add, though, that for us writers, moving not only promotes general health, but also oxygenates our brain and increases our concentration, helping to improve the quality and even speed of our writing. If you ever sat down to write something after working out a bit, or after a good walk, you know what I mean – you just feel more prepared for the page, whether it’s blank, or in dire need of revising or editing.

While in an ideal world we would all go to the gym three times a week or do intense body weight exercises at home and run for at least 30 minutes every day, not many of us have the schedule, amenities, or body configuration necessary for sustaining such a training routine. But we shouldn’t cling to any excuses. Moving constantly between our desk, reading chair, kitchen, and bathroom isn’t good enough – we can do better.

 

Walking

Walking is a great start. Many famous writers were in fact great walkers – Charles Dickens and Henry David Thoreau come to mind. Walking, especially brisk walking for at least 30 minutes, can be an excellent boost before we start writing, as well as a great way to relax after a(n) (in)tense writing session. Walking can also become a creative ritual, one that stimulates our mind to come up with fresh ideas, or solutions to problems we are facing.

For my part, I walk around 30 minutes first thing in the morning, after I brush my teeth and before I start writing. While it would be more convenient to jump from my bed straight to my desk – I work from home – I find that those 30 minutes of early morning freshness are some of the best of my day. Regardless of your schedule, you should be able to free some time for walking, if not every day, then at least every other day. Or you could just walk to the bus or subway station instead of driving to work. You may also want to consider cycling and running.

 

Simple Exercises For the Heart and Legs

There are other easy yet effective exercises we writers can perform with few to no risks. The heart is a muscle, but we can only exercise it indirectly, by exercising our other muscles, most notably our leg muscles. Walking, running, and cycling are all effective ways to keep our heart positively busy, but there are other easy and even fun exercises that can get our heart pumping in between writing sessions:

  • bouncing as many times as you can – do it right next to your desk, pretending you’re jumping over an invisible swinging rope
  • jumping jacks
  • knee bends

 

Up and Down the Steps

Every movement counts. If you have any steps nearby, i.e. if your room is on the second floor, don’t hesitate to use them – don’t keep a glass of water (or a snack) on your desk at all times, but rather go get it from the kitchen whenever you’re thirsty (or hungry). Not only will your leg muscles be pleased, but the water (or the snack) will also taste better with the effort.

 

Body Weight Exercises

You may also want to try to use your body weight to do push-ups or sit-ups, which you can easily do at home without any gear. How many of them you do and how often depends on several factors, as well as on your workout goals, so you may want to read more online about simple training routines at home.

In conclusion, we writers must have not only an active mind, but also an active body. We should walk, run, do cardiopulmonary exercises, and even body weight exercises. We should even go to the gym if there’s one near and our body can take it (and our body can take a lot more than we think). We should do this not only to stay healthy, but also to create the right conditions for our brain to function at its best. An active writer is a good writer.

 

 

Guest post contributed by Vincent Mars. Vincent is a Romanian with a dream: to write stories in English. Check out his blog for more of his articles and information about his book, 50 Word Stories.


226373498_dacf4f263f_bNeed help with your book or novel? Check out the Writer’s Toolbox, a list of free, discounted, and overall helpful links to tools and benefits to help you with what you do best: writing.


 

 

 

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20 thoughts on “The Writer’s Workout”

  1. I agree with your post, Vincent. Exercise is not just good for the body but also the mind, which sparks creativity. I actually wrote a post about this called, “Want to Write, Get High” https://sherryparnell.com/2016/06/08/want-to-write-get-high/ in which I talked about the benefits of running as it relates to creative idea generation. There is definitely a connection and science, thankfully, is now backing it up. Thanks for your post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Though I have written for years, this spring I became more sedentary and it caught up with me. I ached all over, got stiff and sore to the point my typical exercises (light weights and yoga) were putting me under. I had to have physical therapy to break out of it. I set the kitchen timer for 20-40 minutes segments and then get up and water plants, put a load of clothes in the washer or do some home band or floor exercises and stretches. It makes a huge difference. This is a topic of grave importance to us writers. Thanks for your post!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Love this. William Wordsworth was a big walker who’d compose poems while walking. Especially now in the age of fitbits, if nothing else, walking is a great way to get yourself active and just out of the house.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Agreed. I go for exercise almost daily, or if i take no breaks, 6 days in a week.
    Also, I’ve made my own rule, The Three Day Rule. The rule is that I have to go someplace, even for half an hour that is not a part of my daily schedule. Such as during writing, I’m going to college from home and then going back. SO at least once every three days, I have to get out of the usual routine and go somewhere else. Such as catching a movie, or going out for dinner, or going out for coffee, or visiting a monument etc. I’ve realised that as much as great writing skills, a writer needs to have experiences to stay fresh and not become hackneyed or tired just being in a room.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My limitations with mobility stop me from doing a lot of the exerice I used to do way long ago. For a while I did mat exercises, but since breaking my knee that’s been painful. Nevertheless, I’m quite aware that physical exertion gives me energy, both the physical and mental kind so I searched for chair exercises. I, now, do half-swats (2 sets of 30) and I lift a 3lb weight 50 times for each arm.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow! I never knew that my creativeness had anything to do with exercise ! I love this ! It was so informative and inspirational!! Maybe you could take a look at my blog and I’d be happy to exchange likes on the posts we like and a follow!

    Like

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