5 Fitness Tips for Writers

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…

Source of quotations in tips two and five: “Resolve to Tone Up,” Best Health Magazine, February, 2009.



9 Responses

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Alison,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment — I’m so glad you like Successful Writers! And, I hope you find it useful and motivating for years to come.

    I’ve never been to Australia, but I had an Australian boyfriend once. His name was Glen….perhaps you know him?

    Ha ha ha, just kidding! 🙂 When I travel, people say stuff like that about Canada!

    Best wishes,
    Laurie

  2. Alison Stegert says:

    Hi Laurie,
    I’ve spent over an hour on your blog. It’s fabulous–a new in my favourites Writing Folder.

    Regarding fitness for writers, I know someone who sits on an exercise ball (rather than a desk chair). She claims it helps maintain her core strength (and is good for her back, too). So she’s sort of exercising while she writes! I like that idea.

    All the best and enjoy your new home. It sounds lovely.

    Alison (from Australia)

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    You’re welcome — I’m glad you liked the tips.

    The long periods of inactivity is my least favorite part of being a writer and blogger. I waitressed for 10 years, and loved the physicality of that kind of work! I miss it…and the tips 🙂

  4. Charlotte Rains Dixon says:

    As a fellow writer, one thing I try to remember to do is get up from the computer regularly to stretch and move. Often I get so engrossed in my writing that I sit for hours–not good. Thanks for good tips.

  5. Julia Karr says:

    Great reminder to get the butt out of the chair and work it out, in order to make BIC time more productive. Thanks!

  6. David ~ I agree, I too feel grumpy and out of sorts when I don’t work out. It’s addictive! Literally. The hormones released after exercising make us keep coming back for more…

    Amanda ~ Thanks for the clarification. I’ll keep my eyeballs peeled for more on Mauran Hagan. Sounds like a smart cookie.

    Vanessa ~ Thanks for your comment; that was one of my favorite fitness tips for writers, too. 🙂

    Laurie

  7. Vanesa says:

    I agree with you that having a healthy body help our mind become more productive in many ways. I also love your tips number 4. Don’t exercise forever – exercise better.

  8. Amanda Vogel says:

    Thanks for including me and my Best Health article in your blog post! I agree that healthy habits and feeling healthy and fit can help make us writers be more productive. Great topic!

    To be fair, I should mention that the advice attributed to me in your post comes from Maureen Hagan, a top fitness expert and author of GoodLife Fitness: 6 Weeks to a New Body. She offered the tip you cite as part of our interview–so the credit is rightfully hers. 🙂

    Best,
    Amanda

  9. David Jones says:

    If I don’t work out regularly, I get in the worst mood. Definitely not a mood that I want to be in when I’m trying to create something. And not being able to be creative worsens my mood, which makes me not want to workout. It just feeds upon itself.

    In order to break out of that self-defeating cycle, I have to workout. I frequently get ideas for writing while running. There’s just something about they rhythm of my breathing and my feet hitting the pavement that just empties my brain of all the bad things, and allows good things to come back in.

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