Writers, how to keep a healthy body and brain

Writing can be quite an unhealthy past time.  We sit hunched over a desk for hours, eating junk food, drinking copious amounts of caffeinated beverages…. yep, that’s unhealthy.

Banner - Writers how to keep a healthy body and brain

Now as someone who works a job that involves sitting, and who does her writing while sitting 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.

What you can do now

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 workout 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 the dastardly chore 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.  Right?

5 – Different exercises

Have a heavy workload?  Have to get up really early for a meeting?  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 your finished, it will leave you feeling better.  Also, once the initial tiredness wears off, you get a burst of energy.

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.  You know, someone who can ring you up and yell, “Go exercise!”

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.  Oh and 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 them 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.

Don’t get disheartened that you can’t do what you did before.  Just start again and build up slowly.

Also, be aware that 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 you 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.

healthOther ideas

Standing desk Create a standing desk so that you are at least not spending as long sitting down.  Review of the best standing desks

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 or a recording app on your phone while walking around.  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.

Additional reading

Why Sitting too much is bad

Sitting Risk

5 Unhealthy side effects of sitting

And a video

Over to you dear reader, what do you do to stay healthy?

~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~ ☆ ~

If we want to be better writers we need to treat our bodies better.  So use 2017 as a start to make a change and move more.
Happy writing
Ari

 

3 thoughts on “Writers, how to keep a healthy body and brain

  1. Pingback: How to be a more organised writer (pt.1) | The official site of Ari Meghlen

    • Hi Elizabeth, we have had the same issue at our company. Some of the offices (bigger ones in London) have them but they are refusing to even allow us to have like 5 just as hotdesks to give people the choice to use them for some tasks. I hope your company finally comes around, in this day and age you think these companies would like to try things that will HELP their employees be more healthy and productive.

      I use the MindBell app on my phone that rings a soft tone every 30mins so I just stand up, have a stretch and then sit back down or I go for a wander, if I think I can get away with it 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s