This past weekend, I attended the Pacific Northwest Writers Association annual conference. I didn’t realize they were such a long-lived organization. This was their 64th conference.
I had a fantastic time, which I will share in the next couple of days. But I want to share one of the most exciting inspirations that came out of the conference- Writers’ Wellness.
To Be or Not to Be…The Best Version of Myself
Writers are notorious for not taking the best care of themselves. “No, I can’t eat, I have a DEADLINE!” “I sleep five hours a night to make time for my writing.” “Who has time to workout when my Muse is talking to me?”
All these are important issues which I want to address, and I definitely will tackle them soon. But I want to focus on the workout aspect. First and foremost, ZooFit isn’t about making TONS of time out of your insanely hectic and busy schedule to workout. It’s about finding opportunities to move, and having fun with it.
For instance, during the conference, I always parked my car as far from the conference hotel entrance as was possible. Between each session, there was a nice long thirty minute break. We were also allotted two hours for lunch, and an hour between the last session and dinner. So, I used the opportunity to walk to my car between every session, walk to a park during my lunch hour, and do a quick 15 minute workout before dinner. Nothing too strenuous, but oh so helpful in keeping away tightness in my legs from sitting down all day.
Sitting is the New Smoking
Writers do a lot of sitting. And I’ve heard it repeated several times that sitting is the new smoking. (this doesn’t mean smoking is no longer harmful, if you do it, NOW is the time to stop)
But there are some simple moves you can do to counter the effects of sitting all day. And it doesn’t have to take a long time. You can do it in short stints of time. All it takes is six minute intervals to get a great workout, reverse the negative effects of sitting all day, and have a little bit of fun.
Oh, and did I mention exercise is one of the most important things you can do to boost creativity? Yeah, working out doesn’t just do your body good, it can make you a better writer!
So, why are we still sitting around? Let’s get on with the workout!
Writers’ Wellness WOD
- Plank/Mountain Climber
- Glute Bridge/Single Leg Glute Bridge
- Bird-Dog/Spider Plank
- Elephants Can’t Jump/On Thin Ice
- V-ups/Upside Down Beetles
These exercises are proven to help with muscles which are affected the most from sitting all day. There are two ways to do this workout.
If you are planning on doing all the exercises in one go (during your regular workout, for example), do the first set of each pair of exercises as a warm-up, nice and slow, with a low repetition count. Then, to start your workout, set up a timer to repeatedly go off every minute for 20 minutes.
This workout is 3 rounds. The first round do a minute of each first exercise (plank, glute bridge, inchworm, bird-dog, elephants can’t jump, and v-ups). Rest a full minute. Then do the second set of exercises for a minute each (mountain climber, single leg glute bridge, burpee, spider plank, on thin ice, and upside-down beetle). Rest a full minute. Then repeat for one last round, but this time, you get to choose which exercise of the pair you want to do (choose plank or mountain climber, glute bridge or single leg, inchworm or burpee, bird-dog or spider plank, elephants or thin ice, v-ups or beetles). Cool down after the last round and stretch out. I’ll include some great writers’ stretches at the end of the page.
If you want to use this workout during your writing time, this works great as a quick break and stretch. It will also help keep your muscles from tightening up or cramping, keep creativity flowing, and focus better on your work.
Set a timer for 20-25 minutes. Whenever the timer goes off, pick one of the pairs of exercises (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6). Do one minute of the first exercise in the pair, and 30 seconds all out of the 2nd exercise in the pair. Restart your timer. Repeat after your timer goes off every 20 minutes, choosing a different pair each time. This is great for those who work in 2-3 hour time blocks.
If you work in longer time blocks, add some stretches between exercise sets.
Writer Poses for Better Writing
- Crane Lift
- Squat Hold- I don’t have video of this movement yet. But squat as far as you can (ass to grass, as they say). Press your elbows against the inside of your knees and hold for a count of 10-20.
- Squat to Forward Fold- working on this one too. Squat as far as you can, keeping your chest up and knees out. Then grab onto your feet and straighten out your legs until you are bent over in a forward fold. Bend your knees to return to a squat hold.
Whether you do this as a circuit workout, or keep yourself moving throughout your writing time, Writers’ Wellness will boost your mobility, creativity, and focus for making the most of your time at the computer (or desk, pen and paper, whatever you use). Let me know how it goes in the comments section. Have fun and happy writing workout!
Great stuff here, PJ. Thank you. Sitting is the new smoking! That means writers need to get up and move. Thanks for your guidance!
Thanks, Cami. Yup. Writers are especially vulnerable to muscle aches, poor posture, and cramps. I set a timer every 20 minutes and get up to stretch, walk, or, my favorite (as you will soon discover if you keep reading this blog), burpees. Fitness is for everyone, whether they are hikers, zookeepers, world-builders, storytellers, or teachers.