We all know that the writer's life is largely sedentary. While brainstorming and sorting out ideas can be done with a measure of physical activity, actual typing or writing longhand has us parked in one place. Writing gives our brains a workout, but it doesn't offer much in the way of burning calories.
Activity of some kind is essential for good circulation. Even short bursts of movement get the blood flowing, which provides a double bonus - for mind and body. We think and feel better, and have more to offer our loved ones. That said, what can be done to offset the less active times while at the keyboard?
Here's what tops my list. See if you agree.
- Get ample rest. We know this, but how many of us heed this advice? I don't always, but aim to make it a priority.
- Eat right. This is another given. Poor eating habits will catch up with us. You know, like Mom always said, "You are what you eat."
- Exercise. Given #3! From hitting the gym, to walking or running, to the exercise DVD, light weights, etc. there are a myriad of options from which to choose.
- Maintain a "motion mindset". Our best writing results often come when we are healthy and alert.
To take this "motion mindset" a step further, I look for ways to stay loose and relieve tension. Perhaps you do some of the following too.
- Take regular breaks. A trip to the laundry room or mailbox can stretch muscles and get the blood moving. Sometimes I'll take a brief walk around the house or yard, march in place, or scale the stairs a few times.
- Stand up. You've probably read the articles about how standing (versus sitting) is better for circulation. I don't have a standing desk, but occasionally I'll take my laptop or pen and paper and work while standing at the kitchen island. When possible, I pace while on the phone.
- Keep moving, even when sitting. Stretch or rotate your arms, flex your legs, stomp your feet, scrunch your shoulders up and down, or turn your head from left to right.
- Lift weights. Stash 1 or 2 pound weights under your desk. Sit/stand and do a few bicep curls or overhead arm lifts. Even light weights provide resistance benefits.
- Be your own masseuse/masseur. Massage your scalp, forehead or temples, neck, and/or shoulders, using gentle pressure or kneading in a circular motion to relieve tension and increase blood flow.
- Stay hydrated. Did you know that dehydration can cause headaches? Keeping a healthy beverage handy, whether writing or not, is an easy preventative measure.
Whether exercising our bodies or minds, it doesn't take much to reap helpful benefits.
How do you balance activity with the sedentary writing life?
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