Physically and emotionally healthy writers are happy writers (creative, productive, and resilient). These five fitness tips for writers range from the unusual to the simple — and all but one are tested by moi. I can’t stress it enough: the healthier and happier you are as a writer, the easier it’ll be to flow with the ups and downs of freelance writing, pitching ideas to literary agents and editors, and making money blogging.
The best way to get and stay physically healthy is to make it a non-negotiable part of your day. For instance, I have eight 10 Minute Solutions DVDs — 10 Minute Solution: Rapid Results Pilates was the first one I ever tried. I was hooked after the first workout; I love Lara Hudson! I have a workout date with her, Suzanne, Andrea, or Leanne at either 11 am or 4 pm most days of the week.
“I have to exercise in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.” ~ Marsha Doble.
5 Fitness Tips for Writers
These tips aren’t necessarily for weight loss (though they’ll help you lose weight if you eat properly). Rather, these tips are geared towards creating an overall sense of health and wellness, which will spill over into your writing life.
1. Put on your workout clothes as soon as you get up in the morning. This tip may seem like it works best for writers who work from home, but anyone can do it! As soon as I get up in the morning, I put on my workout gear. Since I can wear whatever I want to work (except pajamas — I refuse to wear my nighty night clothes to work), I’ve found that putting on my workout clothes first thing makes me more likely to keep my 11 am date with Lara. If you can wear your workout clothes under your work clothes, you’ll find yourself one step closer to a healthier lifestyle….which will increase your creativity and motivation to write.
2. Sleep in your workout clothes. Check this fitness tip out – it’s from Barb Gormley, the owner of Custom-Fit Personal Training in Toronto. “Sounds crazy, but in winter, I wear my sports bra and workout T-shirt to bed so it’s super-easy to get out the door on cold dark mornings.” ‘Kay, but my workout gear isn’t nearly as comfy as my nighty night gear, and I like getting dressed when I wake up. I stretch, scratch and yawn as I put my workout clothes on — it helps me wake up. That said, however, I encourage you to try sleeping in your workout clothes for a month and let me know if it helped you be a happier, healthier writer!
3. Factor in your personality traits. Are you an introvert? (Rap my knuckles for almost assuming that writers are introverts — I’ve actually written an article to help extroverted writers be more productive!) If you aren’t sure if you’re an introvert, take this test for introverted personality traits. Introverts may not enjoy exercising with groups of people, and may lean towards solo running, biking, or swimming. Or, they may like the fitness DVDs that I love — and I’m definitely an introvert. Extroverts, on the other hand, prefer intense workouts with groups of people, and are prone to exercising fairly often. Scientist Amy Hagan said, “These excitement-craving people love lots of activity, and want to go, go, go.” Extroverts also prefer to listen to music while exercising. To be a healthy, happy writer, you need to be aware of how your personality traits affect your lifestyle.
4. Don’t exercise forever – exercise better. You can get an effective workout in just 10 minutes. Instead of an hour-long workout with exercises or reps that isolate one body part at a time, try five or six exercises that target multiple muscles. Pilates is a great way to do compound movements, which burn more fat and create more lean muscle. The more you use your whole body in a workout, the healthier you’ll get.
5. Have realistic expectations about your fitness level. If you want to lose weight or create lean muscles, remember that it takes time. Don’t be discouraged after the first couple of weeks! It can take six weeks before you see physical changes in your body. “To avoid getting derailed,” says fitness instructor and writer Amanda Vogel, of ActiveVoice.ca. “Follow this six week approach: In the first three weeks, expect mental and emotional changes – more energy or a confidence boost. Expect to start seeing a slightly slimmer, tighter body after three weeks.”
Do you make time for fitness — and does it help you be a healthy, happy writer? I welcome your thoughts below…
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Source of quotations in tips two and five: “Resolve to Tone Up,” Best Health Magazine, February, 2009.