Monday, September 24, 2012

Writers Need Exercise

Writers are notorious for getting little or no exercise. Correct me if I’m wrong. I dare you. We don’t want to stop writing long enough to take Fido to the park. At my house, even Fido is starting to waddle. 

Waiting in line at the grocery store checkout, I found myself swaying to the canned music. Thankfully I came to my senses before I started running on the spot.  I was this close. An awkward moment that could have been worse.  I know because it happened.

I was peeling carrots at the kitchen counter with the radio blaring. It wasn’t until my husband walked in that I realized I was doing the happy feet thing!  Yes, it would have been embarrassing if I’d started bouncing around at Foodland.

That grocery store incident was a few years ago when I was working at a fitness club for women. The steady throb of raucous music at the gym meant I was in constant motion. Moving to the beat was a reflexive habit. That job kept me trim and in nauseatingly high spirits.  My energy level soared.

Couldn’t ask for a better job−if I wanted a job−but after a few years I longed to leave the work force. I had reached the point where all I wanted was to be at home. Finally, I gave my notice. I would clean out closets, write, bake all kinds of goodies, write, have fun with the grandchildren, write, eat snacks all day, and write. I was ecstatic.

Fast-forward five years. I couldn't exercise because... the gym near me closed down...I had a lengthy recovery following surgery...I didn’t want to leave the house because I might miss an important phone call...yada, yada, yada. Okay, picture a computer. Now, picture me slouched over it.  Get the picture?  A sluggish and much heavier me. Ugh!

There were sporadic periods of yoga, power walks, exercising with weights, and for awhile I even rolled around on a huge ball. In spite of my half-hearted attempts, my energy dwindled and my middle thickened. A little voice kept saying, Get away from that desk and start exercising.  Phyllis, you're not exercising enough. The voice sounding mysteriously like my husband.

At night before falling asleep I would envision myself working out.  Moving from machine to machine I pushed and pulled until the roots of my hair dampened and a flush came to my cheeks.  My imagination is vast but I suspect the flushed cheeks and damp hair came from other sources.  Regardless, even in my imagination the workout felt great.  Although the results weren’t evident.

My self-esteem began to flag.  Without confidence, how could I write?  It was just too much to deal with before my nap.  Yeah, that’s another thing.  Usually up by five a.m. and at my computer by 5:30, I was beginning to sleep in and stay up later.  Except it is the morning when I am most productive, so it seemed I was not accomplishing my normal work quota .

Then it happened. An imp popped out from behind my ear and landed on my shoulder.  You remember the imp don’t you?  (my March 12th blog, The Imp on Your Write Shoulder)  Ouch!  The sharp flick on my lobe was what I needed.  A reminder of how important exercise is for my physical and mental well-being got me out of that chair and back at the gym. Finally!

My energy level has already increased in the first few weeks. Perhaps my exercise regimen will result in increased productivity at the computer. I can only hope.

Here’s a nudge to all you sedentary storytellers out there. Don’t sit for long periods at your work station without moving.  Never underestimate some serious stretches.  If you can’t feel the stretch, it isn’t a stretch!  Stay limber.  Bend over at the waist and touch your toes.  You can’t see your toes??  You’d better hit the gym.  Start moving, stay healthy, and keep writing!!!!


  1. Great one Phyllis. If one writer can stop the flab from spreading is that called "writers block?". Lol. Keep it coming. Hugs!

  2. Hahahahaha! Patsy, that is a good one. You're on your toes today, girl. Do a couple of stretches and start writing!

  3. After reading this, time for a walk! The weather is cool & windy today but refreshing at the same time. Great time to watch for leaves and other fall treasures.:)

    1. Hi Patricia! A refreshing walk in the fall can be very beneficial - especially for a poet!