In case you couldn’t tell, I’m fresh from my morning work out. I've amped it up this week to combat a few extra pounds that managed to creep around my waist when I wasn’t looking. I try to exercise at least five days per week, and it’s become habitual enough that I feel out of sorts if I miss a day.
There have been several physical benefits to my exercise regimen. My lower backaches have all but disappeared. I’ve stopped having chronic sinus infections. Best of all, I can eat practically anything I want (in moderation - the aforementioned extra pounds were directly related to my failure to follow this rule and a bag of Ruffles potato chips) and not gain weight.
Physical exercise is good for more than the body. There are real reasons why working out is good for your writing too.
1. Physical exercise boosts creativity. I’m sure there are scientific studies that quantify this fact, but I don’t need them - my own experience is validation enough. I always make sure to have a notebook and pen at hand because so many good ideas come flooding into my head while I’m exercising that I could never remember them all without jotting them down.
2. Physical exercise improves your mood. Unless you’ve discovered a huge market for sob stories, depressed writers are not terribly popular or productive. The endorphins released during exercise plus the stimulation of blood flow to the brain help you feel happier and less stressed.
3. Physical exercise improves your strength and endurance. Writing may be a sedentary occupation, but it still requires stamina. Strengthening the core muscles prevents back fatigue and pain that can distract you from the work in progress, and force you away from the desk earlier than necessary.
Invest some time and energy in discovering a form of exercise that works for you. I think it’s key to find something you enjoy doing and that fits into your life without too much disruption to your daily schedule.
Then make a habit of it. The dividends are well worth it.