We all know that exercise is good for us. It improves our physical health, eases our mental well-being, and (especially important for we writers and readers) boosts our creativity. However, for we intellectual types with sedentary careers and hobbies, it can be really difficult to gather the time and energy to exercise. After all, wouldn’t we rather curl up with a good book? I know I would.
As part of my New Year’s resolutions, I am trying to make exercise a more frequent part of my life. There are several reasons that I do not commit to exercise like I should. However, the biggest is that my time is very limited. I don’t like to squander my sparse free time on activities that don’t involve writing, reading, growing my author business, or spending time with my family. Because exercise doesn’t fall into these categories, it frequently falls to the wayside.
Therefore, I’ve done some brainstorming, and I’ve come up with eight ways to combine exercise with my writing career so that exercise will benefit my writing. I’m not sure if I will use them all, but I’m sharing them all, in hopes that they will be useful to you.
1. Listen to Audiobooks
I’m not a huge audiobook fan, but my husband is. Whenever Daniel goes on long jogs, he almost always listens to a book as he runs. He says that they help pass the time and kill two hobby birds with one stone.
2. Old-Fashioned Reading
If you are on a treadmill or stationary bike, bring your physical book along. As long as you have basic coordination and aren’t overly prone to motion sickness, you should be able to read while you walk or pedal! (This idea courtesy of Brittany.)
3. Listen to Podcasts
As you all should know by now, I love podcasts for learning about writing and publishing. Like audiobooks, podcasts can help the time go quickly and keep you entertained. They are the perfect way to exercise your body and your brain in harmony.
When you are at the gym or out in nature, there really isn’t much else to do but think. (This is especially true if you do yoga.) So take advantage of this sacred thought time and brainstorm your novel. Take notes on the people and objects you see. There is inspiration all around you if you just stop and look!
5. Dictate Your Novel
Take brainstorming to the next level and dictate your novel into your phone’s voice recorder (or a tape recorder for you hipsters out there) as you exercise. Sure, it might be hard to gasp out those words as your body works, but, for you seasoned exercisers, this might be a good way to write while you work out.
6. Bring Exercise to Your Desk
If you don’t have time to go to the gym, bring the gym to you! Ditch your old chair for an exercise ball and work your core while you write. Splurge on a treadmill desk and take a nice walk while you make your character outlines. For more ideas like these, check out my article, 10 Tips for Creating a Healthy and Productive Writing Space.
7. Watch YouTube Videos or Webinars
Most gyms feature televisions for a reason: they are a great way to get your mind off your screaming muscles and into a happy place. If you are a writer, do the same for yourself. Except, instead of watching the news or bad reality TV, enjoy an instructional YouTube video or webinar about growing your author business.
8. Use Exercise as a Break
When you sit at your desk for hours on end, your body gets stiff. When you write for hours, your brain gets stiff, too. Give both your body and brain a break. Stand up and do a few stretches or squats or bicep curls to get your blood pumping and loosen you up. It only takes a minute or two to do one exercise, and an exercise break is much better for you (and probably gives you more real energy and focus) than a coffee break.
These eight ideas are simple ways to make exercise benefit your writing. Of course, exercise on its own has creativity-boosting powers that will help your writing. However, if you are like me and have difficulty “justifying” exercise time when you could be writing or reading, adding in a few of these writerly activities may help improve your writing even more. Worst case scenario, at least your heart will be happy!
What helps motivate you to exercise? How else do you make your exercise time benefit your writing or creative activities?