Writing Exercises . . . which muscle exactly?

DESK POTATO would be a more accurate description of yours truly, as opposed to Couch Potato.

I’m not a TV-watcher, and I don’t snack between meals, so I should be in pretty good shape, correct?

((( GONG )))

Like many writers, I exercise my mind more than my body, my fingers more than my legs.

True, I’ve been taking a lot of walks in nearby Mill Creek Park lately (second largest urban park in the USA). What with Spring fever gripping me, I even went for TWO walks one day when the sun was rudely calling me outdoors.

Unheard of!

But, somehow, a bit of walking doesn’t seem drastic enough to make up for the overall lack of exercise. So right now I’m toying with notions of becoming more physically active. I know it has to be something feasible—something I have a fair chance of sticking to.

Here’s what I’ve narrowed it down to: a choice between exercising at home and joining a class.

Which approach will really work for me?

What kind of exercise program works—or has in the past worked—for YOU? Let’s do our best to motivate one another!


Water Aerobics

The Jewish Community Center here in Youngstown, Ohio offers Making Waves, “a low to moderate intensity program designed to provide a fresh and new approach to your morning workout.”

I like the low to moderate part ;~D


Ginny’s Bellydance Boudoir

Ginny has been teaching in the Youngstown area since 2002 to promote the art of bellydance—women of all ages and ethnicities dancing for fun and fitness together.

Anything that makes exercise FUN has got to be a winner, right?


Wimps Series: Bellydance for Wimps

This DVD is true to its name.

If you have three left feet and dance steps do not come naturally to you, do not despair. Natasha Senkovich, a professional belly dancer, will simplify it for you and make it doable.

Ya gotta love a woman who appears on the front cover of her DVD dressed in a sexy belly dance costume while clutching a slice of pizza in one hand!

T’ai Chi Chih by Don Fiore

This is one I’ve used, on and off, many times before and I really enjoy it. It’s gentle and very doable for those whose muscles are wired to scream in protest after an aerobic workout.

This is even one you can do before bed. It works on the principle of moving the invisible energy that powers all of us (some call it chi) and it leaves you feeling serene.

Note: I once took an eight-week T’ai Chi Chih class so I use the T’ai Chi Chih DVD (fourth product on the page). If you have no previous experience, you should start with the first one on this page, Easy Tai Chi-Qigong.

African Healing Dance with Wyoma

Once, when I actually made the effort to invest some time in this video, it left me feeling so grounded and refreshed, it’s mind-boggling to think I’ve never tried it again.

I wish I had as much passion for exercise as I do for activities on the stupid computer!

So now I have to make my big decision and commit some time to this. The time commitment being my biggest issue. There are so many juicy creative things I’d rather spend my time on.

But life’s supposed to be about balance . . . darn it, even for writers.

POST A COMMENT and share your guilty confessions—or your success story—about sticking to an exercise program.

4 Responses to Writing Exercises . . . which muscle exactly?
  1. The Ink Gypsy
    April 9, 2009 | 8:08 PM

    Warning: Long-ish comment below 🙂

    Hey Milli:

    I totally agree writers should be about balance. The hard thing is how do you integrate that into a job that generally requires you to stay still for the most part?

    Walking is great for the thinking process, to develop ideas and reflect on work but apart from scribbling barely legible notes from time to time, you can't do a whole lot of 'words-on-a-page' writing when walking.

    I've heard of people who talk into a dictaphone/voice recorder while on the move but while I managed to get to the place where I could do that I didn't have the energy or inclination to transcribe the useful bits straight away so I'm left with some brilliant ideas (or so my memory wold have me believe) sitting dusty in a drawer somewhere for when I'm feeling particularly particular about tying up my loose ends. In other words, it's very unlikely I will ever finish whatever that was.

    But I'm rambling.

    As an 'ex-dancer' (if there is such a thing) who is forever frustrated with her current lack of fitness, as I'm getting older I'm finding I need to implement a minimum daily stretch and strength exercises that I can do in 5 minutes or so. If I keep that up, I'm more likely – and more able – to handle doing something more intensive a couple of times a week.

    The important thing, especially as we get older, is to encourage/extend flexibility and then to make sure the blood moves through the body. This way all the nutrients have a better chance of reaching your extremities and organs and you help your system flush toxins more efficiently.

    Flexibility is underrated but very important. This is one of the reasons a lot of people swear by yoga: because it moves oxygen through the body and works on keeping you limber.

    I used to exercise first thing in the morning, before my brain would start working and protest that it was bored. By the time my thinking woke up, the hard work was done for the day and I could have a shower and continue fresh and alert with the blood pumping through my system. Now that I'm older and unable to maintain that due to a change in lifestyle (a toddler who won't let me have five minutes to myself let alone an hour), doing my daily 5 minute exercises at the end of the day better for me as my body has 'warmed up'. (I'm also more able to deal with him 'joining in' – LOL!)

    For more strenuous exercise I recommend you find something you enjoy, so you'll stick with it, and don't set your goals too intensely at first. For me, I need whatever I do to be vaguely dance related otherwise it just feels like unpleasant labor.

    As for at home or with others it depends on your personality. Are you an extrovert? Go do something with friends to motivate you and make it more fun. An introvert? Do it alone at home so you can concentrate and not feel self-conscious about others watching (you don't need the extra tension when you're exercising – restricts blood flow & oxygen moving your body).

    I hope this helps. Ultimately I just want to say 'good for you' for making this a priority. I know the gray matter and as a result, your writing, will thank you. 🙂

  2. Sunflower Ranch
    April 9, 2009 | 8:19 PM

    Great post, Milli! You have found and expressed the terrible dilemma every creative writer must face sooner or later. Balance the mental/creative wanna-dos with the physical-good-for-your-health have-to-dos. I think you might be happy doing several different activities. Walk one day in the park, go once a week to the Tai Chi class, and once a week to the bellydance class. Whatever works for you!! I try to balance my exercise with trips to the gym and putting in an active gardening or shopping/errand day. The treadmill is your friend, remember! LOL But when you have run around Costco with a full cart, you’re working hard, too. Other ways to get regular exercise, park your car far from the door wherever you are going. And walk briskly. It’s small, but small steps do work! Good luck with your new programs!

  3. Milli Thornton
    April 9, 2009 | 8:43 PM

    Ink Gypsy and Sunflower Ranch,

    Thanks for reading and commenting. These are great suggestions. Happily, both your comments came in while I was exercising – LOL! Just another walk in the park with my husband, but at least I was out moving my butt :0)

    Ink Gypsy, do you follow a particular stretch regimen (eg. something I can follow in a book or online) or is your 5-minute routine a carry-over from your days as a dancer?

  4. Glynis
    April 14, 2009 | 10:52 AM

    Milli, I am having the same problem! I decided that I must get walking the vineyards more and walk away from my novel a little. So…I take my pen and pad, walk to the top of the hills, rest and write a little, then walk back. I feel I have achieved something. I am tempted by the belly dancing tho’, a lady has opened a class on the island, so I might invest in fun 🙂 Enjoy your walks in the park with hubby tho’, they are special moments in our lives.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?