So…my guess is, unless you are pretty dedicated to your health, you do your writing sitting down (rather than at a standing desk while on a step machine).
Now as someone who works a job that involves sitting, and who does her writing while sitting (despite having a step machine! ;p) and who crafts items while sitting… I am well aware of how bad sitting is for the body.
And since what is bad for the body, is bad for the brain we really need to make sure we look after our bodies.
Easier said than done, right? So here are a few tips that might help.
1 – Don’t Wait: Avoid immediate excuses, if you defer from starting by telling yourself “In the New Year” or “I’ll start next week” you will always struggle. Remember, Eat The Frog!
2 – Monday Workout: Have Monday as an exercise day. Awful I know but it sets a pattern and will be easier to continue throughout the week.
3 – Play the music: Decide how long you want to work out for (20mins should be the minimum) and create an upbeat playlist that lasts that long. Exercising to your own playlist will make it a little more enjoyable.
4 – Morning Workouts: Almost as bad as Monday workouts but exercising in the morning not only boosts your energy for the day but gets it out of the way early…because let’s face it, if you left it until later you’d find an excuse NOT to do it.
5 – Different exercises: Have a heavy workload? Have to get up really early? Maybe because of a situation you aren’t able to do 30mins of high impact aerobics. So mix it up, do a little yoga or go for a brisk walk some days.
6 – Push through the malaise: Exercise gives you energy, so if you are feeling tired, try and push through. It gets a little easier once you have warmed up and even though you will feel somewhat tired when you finished, it will leave you feeling better.
7 – Buddy up: Struggling to keep yourself motivated? Trying exercising with a buddy. Go out jogging together, visit the gym together or just find someone you can become accountable too.
8 – Fuel yourself well: Health isn’t just about exercise. Eating all the cookies and then going for a 10min walk won’t do. Maintain a healthy diet and exercise. Stop reaching for the “Low Fat”. If you want to avoid something, avoid processed sugar. Processed sugar causes a surge in blood-sugar making the liver turn it into fat.
Low Fat products often contain more sugar to make they taste better (because it tastes nasty when you take out the fat!). Eat more fruit and veggies, lean meats (if you’re a meat-eater) and reduce your dairy intake as well as all processed and packet foods. Believe me, you’ll soon feel a lot better. (PS: Fruit juices aren’t that good, they remove a lot of the fibre of the fruit…without the fibre you have the same issue with blood-sugar surging).
9 – Be aware: While it would be great to do 1,000 sit ups and have the benefits just stick forever, but alas, that isn’t the case. So maybe you could run 15k when you were in high-school, unless you keep up the exercise and eat well, you won’t remain at that level. Also, your body size is not the best indicator of health. Many people appear to be a healthy weight but are unhealthy on the inside.
10 – Reward: Give yourself rewards for completing your exercise… nope, not a big bar of chocolate! But small rewards can help keep your motivated especially during the times when you’re really not in the mood to continue.
11 – Make a commitment: Set a commitment level, maybe 21 days. This will help to create a habit which will lead to you being more likely to continue.
12 – Measure Fitness: It’s a good idea to measure your fitness, however avoid tracking your weight at the beginning. The reason being is anyone who exercises to lose weight will usually gain weight first. This is because muscle is developed first and is heavier so if you track weight you may get disappointed if you see it either go up or stay the same. Measure things like resting pulse rate, number of steps walked, number of push-ups completed etc. This can be another good motivator.
Standing desk – Create a standing desk so that you are at least not spending as long sitting down.
Regular breaks – Take regular moving breaks. Every hour, get up, stretch your body and take a walk or do some step ups etc
Walk and talk – Brain storming? Taking notes? How about using a dictaphone while walking around to make your notes rather than sitting. Dictate your scenes and type them up later.
The 30mins bell – Sitting for long periods really is damaging. However just by standing up every 30mins (literally for a few seconds is all that’s needed) will make a lot of different. Just like if you are standing for long periods, sitting for a few seconds will be beneficial. It’s about creating the variation. So set an alarm on your phone that bleeps, rings, gongs (quietly…if you’re at work) and then stand up. Throw in a stretch for good measure then sit back down. Or maybe use that as a good excuse to go get a glass of water or walk around the office.
And a video
If we want to be better writers we need to treat our bodies better. So use 2017 as a start to making a change and move more.
Happy writing people!
About Ari Meghlen
I’ve been a writer since I was given unsupervised access to pens and can’t write anything shorter than a trilogy. I live in the greener part of the UK with my awesome boyfriend, 3 mad cats and 1 overly-confident budgie. I spend my time lost in imaginary worlds, making jewellery, taking nature photos or watching bad movies. Connect with me on: Facebook or on my Website
NB: picture purchased from GraphicStock.com (supporting other creatives).