Exercising Your Mind AND Your Body

Thursday, November 09, 2017
Tell me if this seems familiar:

You drag yourself out of bed in the morning – still mostly asleep. A cup of coffee helps a bit, but you must force a smile for your family, and you’d rather be anywhere than on your feet. You have a long list for the day. Writing is at the top, of course. As the day progresses, your stress level rises. Maybe you’re curt with a coworker. Maybe you get home and take the stress of the day out on one of your kids. You sit down to write and barely enjoy it. Something is missing.

Believe it or not, it’s probably exercise.

We give our minds a work-out every single day. But how often do we give our bodies the relief they need?

I just pulled myself out of a funk. In addition to the building stress and constant exhaustion, I didn’t even want to look in the mirror for fear of what I'd see. I wasn’t writing as often as I wanted because I couldn’t muster the energy, and my motivation was at an all-time-low.

Luckily, a little exercise fixed all that. It’s hard to start. You’re already tired, so forcing yourself to go for a run – a jog – heck, even a walk – was near to impossible. But one day I did it and came home feeling exhilarated. A simple 35-minute power-walk gave me more energy then I'd had in weeks.  Excited by the change, I cranked out another chapter of my book that night.

Still on the high from the exercise the day before, I danced along to You Tube Zumba videos in my basement the next day (I realize this may seem pathetic, but we moved 8 months ago, and I miss my Zumba classes. If you live in Fairfax, Virginia, get thee to Kaliente Dance Fitness Studio - stat). Instead of feeling tired at the end of the workout, I had energy. The result? Another productive writing day.

You may not know how much your body craves exercise until you try it. Working-out provides a high – the kind of high that’s good for your mind and for your body.  Something as simple as taking the dog for an extra-long walk can make a positive difference in your life, which means great things for your writing career.

Do you have a favorite way of slipping exercise into your day? Share it!

Bethany Masone Harar is an author, teacher, and blogger, who does her best to turn reluctant readers into voracious, book-reading nerds. Check out her blog here and her website here.


Angela Mackintosh said...

Yep! I exercise every day except Sunday. I agree, it gives you a high, gets the endorphins pumping. I work out a little over 2 hours a day: trail running for an hour and weight lifting and/or pull-ups/pushups for an hour, then abs. I alter the weight lifting hour with MMA, boxing, or Kenpo Karate once a week, and yoga for an hour and a half once a week. I'm actually getting surgery the first week of December and have six weeks of down time. I'm going to go crazy without exercise! =/

It does help writing! I think of ideas or solutions to story problems while I'm running. I've also heard that exercising is good for the brain. There are studies that show exercise is more effective than puzzles in protecting the brain from Alzheimer's.

Marcia Peterson said...

A great reminder, Beth. I exercise a few times a week--nothing quite like Angela though. ;)

As to slipping exercise into the day, I've saved a few you tube videos and pinterest pins of exercises that I like, which are on the short/medium length side of time commitment. So I know I can do them without too much time taken, and I do feel better.

Renee Roberson said...

This is so true. I get so cranky when I don't exercise but I find it hard in the fall/winter after the time changes and it gets dark earlier. What I've been trying to do lately is squeeze in at least a two-mile run/walk before the sun goes down. I load up my phone with podcasts I like and hit the road. Last night I took my dogs for a half-mile walk (they are small and have short legs!) and didn't want to do anything else. But I rallied and did some circuits while watching TV. It put me in a better mindset--I'm already planning to get some writing done this evening while the kids are at their Tuesday night activities!

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