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.
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.
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 you’re 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.
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 difference.
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 get a glass of water or walk around the office.
And a video
Over to you dear reader, what do you do to stay healthy?
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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.