Balancing your life as a writer – Exercise your body
Is your life balanced? Do you work, rest and play equally? If you’re a modern person, juggling writing, a day job, and a family, your answer is, “What are you talking about?” Chances are, we need to move more*, play more, and rest more.
Physical exercise is a wonderful counterbalance to the concentrated mental work and solitary lifestyle of a writer. Our work as writers must be the first priority if we want to do our job. Ironically, however, making time in our schedule to move reminds us that we are more than just the mind. We are of the body too.
Exercise is a great way to stimulate your creativity and change your perspective on your writing. I see exercise as a form of play. Do you remember when you were a kid and you ran around playing tag or hide-and-seek until nightfall? The right exercise for you, I contend, can be that same kind of “in-the-moment” joy. All you need to do is rediscover what type of exercise is right for you.
After almost three years of exercising regularly, I am sharing my perspective from the perspective of someone who has never exercised regularly before.
Step one – The fun factor
Find an exercise you like! Use your childhood passions for inspiration. How can you turn one or many of them into something you can do now? Bicycling, walking, swimming, running, yoga, one of the many forms of dance, the list is endless.
Second step – Small steps
Start with short, low-impact classes or short stints outside. Take walking, for example: it’s simple, almost anyone can do it, and the investment in equipment is minimal. On the first day, go to a nice place and walk for ten minutes. Enjoy your surroundings, the creatures and the people. Notice how you feel. Breathe the fresh air. Remember to stretch.
If you’re out of shape, your goal for the first week is to walk twice for just ten minutes each. Stick to a regular schedule until you can increase the frequency up to three times a week. Then gradually increase the length of your walks, moving from 10 to 12 minutes. Then add a few more minutes, until you’re walking 35 to 40 minutes three times a week. The point of the game is to keep it fun and say, “I can do this!”.
Follow your routine and your progress. Keep a record of the date, the activity, and its duration on an index card or in an exercise journal.
be kind to yourself
Don’t overdo it. Expectations that are too high are counterproductive in this realm of baby steps. Be aware of what is reasonable, in terms of your chosen activity, the time allotted, and the expectation that it will change your life and body instantly. Choose a place to exercise that is between work and home, or easily accessible, such as your living room. And use music, if you want, to lift your spirits as you move!
Like anything important, making time to exercise requires giving up something else in your schedule, like TV, or too many volunteer jobs.
Balance the intense demands of your writing life with the time you spend on the force. A calmer, clearer writer’s mind and better health are the rewards of taking the time to exercise.
Happy exercising and writing!
*This is an informational article only, it is not intended to give medical advice. My information comes from my own experience and that of others.