The Benefits of Exercise and Self-Care For Writers
When I hear about another writer dying of a heart attack or struggling with mental illness, I think, “What is happening?” and I wonder why and if that might happen to me. For example, Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton died at the young age of sixty-six. I wanted to list a few who died in 2019, but I stopped counting at around twenty-seven … and those were just the famous ones.
I love to write and read and research (Unfortunately, in that order). Doing those three things create a lot of sitting and sitting too much is not healthy.
Have I scared you yet? That is not my intention, but implementing good self-care is.
When we think of who should utilize self-care techniques, we might think of doctors, nurses, mental health clinicians, ambulance drivers, and a plethora of others in the helping industry, but Mayo Clinic points out that too much sitting is harmful for your health.
Possible Negative Effects of Too Much Sitting
Can increase heart disease
Increase risk for some cancers
And those are just a few of the physical health symptoms from too much sitting.
Psychology Today outlines that those who sat seven + hours a day tended to complain more of low mood and depressive symptoms than folks who got up and moved around.
It is possible that some of the numerous poets who died of suicide could have used a little exercise and sunlight to boost mood.
I love to write and have no plans to stop, but there are a lot of things I can do to implement better self-care to avoid health and mental health issues and possibly an early death.
Get up and step outside for five minutes several times a day (take out the garbage, walk around the house, or step onto the patio if you live in an apartment).
Stand up and stretch -Stay seated and exercise for a minute or two
Take a walk in the morning to get those creative juices flowing/another walk in the evening to mull over what you’ve written and how you want to start the next chapter or article for tomorrow.
Sit on a balance ball or get a ball chair (This will increase your trunk muscles and increase strength in your core). Ergo-plus has some great options.
Even working from a treadmill for some of your writing and researching can keep you moving.
Eat healthy: drink your green smoothies, eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, and lean meats and fish.
Journal creatively: Outside, in the mall, after a walk (check out my previous blog at Lorihelmscounseling.com on this topic) Me journaling? But I’m a writer. Yes, that means you, even though you’re writing fiction or non-fiction already.
Take a dance class to get out of the house and off the chair. Your spouse might love the quality time.
Just Keep Moving.
The above are only a few of the things you can do to kick start healthy habits if you sit all day. A healthy body and mind has a happy heart.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (NIV)
What healthy habits are you implementing to combine your active lifestyle with your writing? I’d love to hear from you.