Writers, almost by definition, are both busy and sedentary! It’s ironic.
Between the kids, the spouse, the day job, the hairballs, and trying to fit in time to write, many writers skip exercising. I know I did.
After a couple serious health scares, I realized I needed to work exercise into my lifestyle.
I did it in three steps:
- I thought about it a lot. (No calories burned yet. Heh.)
- I had to get my mind caught up to the idea that an inert body—my body—wasn’t going to be lithe and strong forever. I had to own that.
- I had to convince myself that I didn’t need to become an Olympic athlete to make a difference. I had to give myself permission to take it slow and easy.
- I had to come to an understanding of what kind of exercise I enjoyed and thus would be less resistant to. Where was my joy?
- I did research to find the best teachers.
- I experimented and found what worked for me.
My criteria for a doable exercise routine were:
- I don’t have to change clothes to do it.
- I don’t have to shower afterward.
- It’s quick but effective.
- It’s fun and makes me feel good.
- It’s something I can do any time of day depending on how busy I am.
- It’s guided by a teacher, so I don’t have to think about what to do next. I can be in the moment.
Here’s what I do:
Yoga with Adriene
I sit so much that I was getting stiff and my hips were giving me trouble. I needed to limber up. I discovered this Youtube series, and Adriene changed my life. She has many sessions for beginners and many that are short-short (15 mins or less) or targeted to a particular profession or body part. She also does meditations that are calming and get your breath moving. Here are three of her yoga videos that I do regularly.
To get my heart rate up and strengthen, I do these quick exercises. Schellea Fowler’s brand targets women over 50, but don’t let that dissuade you men and younger people from trying these exercises. They are perfect for writers. They’ll get your heart rate up and tone your muscles—in only five minutes. They’re perfect if your mind is wandering to refocus and wake up. You control the intensity you need.
- When exercising with a video, it’s your responsibility to listen to your body, stop if you have to, and don’t overdo it. If it hurts, it’s not helping you. Take it at your own pace, rest when you want, and in time you’ll see improvement. It’s neither a race nor a challenge. It’s okay to be gentle with yourself.
- Give yourself credit just for showing up. If it feels like you didn’t do enough, you did more than you realize. Just by showing up.
- Youtubers earn a living because you Like and/or Subscribe to their videos.
- They also earn more if you watch the whole video, so even if you stop, consider letting the video run to the end.