8 Ways to Make Exercise Benefit Your Writing

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.

exercise shoesAs 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.

4. Brainstorm

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?

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Kate M. Colby is an author of science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction. When she is not writing or working, Kate enjoys playing video games, antiquing, and wine tasting. She lives in the United States with her husband and furry children.

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Posted in Writing & Publishing Articles, Writing Craft & Tips
16 comments on “8 Ways to Make Exercise Benefit Your Writing
  1. You really do post the best stuff at the right time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good ideas Kate! I often don’t exercise for the same reason. I have limited time and I don’t want to spend it on ‘non-productive’ things…although I usually just end up playing video games. Dang- so much for that excuse. Anywho, I love the podcast/audio book idea! Good luck with getting more exercise in!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. coffeennotes says:

    Great post Kate. Love the ideas you written. I love to walk while listening to podcasts or record some notes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sprytely50 says:

    Some great ideas here, especially the podcast thing. My antique iPod Touch can still do that, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I listen to audiobooks when I’m on the treadmill (winter mostly, as this time of year in MN is a bit nippy for outdoor running). When I do walk outside when the weather permits, I like to do “walking meditation”–I work on my plots, story arcs, character building, etc. Now, to figure out how to break away from the time-sucks (Candy Crush or Plants vs Zombies anyone?) on my tablet…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, time sucks are the worst. My biggest one tends to be social media, and I am hoping scheduling some of my social media updates via Hootsuite all at once will help with my day-to-day time sucks.

      I feel you on winter exercising. I much prefer to walk/jog outside, but sometimes that just isn’t possible in winter. Luckily, Kansas is going through a warm phase right now!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Exercise is actually really helpful for people with ADHD. I find that it helps relax my body AND my mind so that I am more productive when I write. I also do some of my best brainstorming while I work out! This was great kate, Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. […] journey. For more on how exercise can help your writing (aka the reverse of this post), click here. Maybe some of them will help you with your own goals, or encourage you to break out that old […]

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  8. […] journey. For more on how exercise can help your writing (aka the reverse of this post), click here. Maybe some of them will help you with your own goals, or encourage you to break out that old […]

    Like

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