WARNING: This is a no-edit zone…
Writers are in a sedentary profession. Most of us these days do the majority of our writing at a desk on a computer screen. In many professions, we spend a lot of time sitting. And, according to a physician who spoke on this yesterday, it’s contributing (about 75%) to making us sick and killing us. What exactly did he tag it? Inactivity.
We eat too much, eat the wrong things (those pumped full of sugar and chemicals) and we don’t exercise.
When I heard this, I wanted to groan. For a long time, I embraced a “never deliberately sweat” attitude, which is bad, but when you live in the south, remember that there are about five months a year when walking outside is like getting slapped in the face with a wet washcloth. If you live here, in the long summer, you stand still outside and you sweat bucketsful. It is in spite of this that I love the south, which has many wonderful qualities, but not sweating isn’t among them unless you play hermit and never go outside.
So we overeat. That’s substantiated by other experts in the field. We have more suffering from obesity than ever in our history, and unfortunately, that includes too many kids.
We eat sweets and foods pumped full of chemicals. We indulge deliberately, true. But we often don’t realize just how much sugar and chemicals are in things we don’t expect. MSG, a flavor enhancer, is a killer for me. I get wicked migraines from it, as do many others. So Hubby and I have started checking labels. Our jaws were on the floor at how many items contain MSG that we never suspected would. Check the labels so you know exactly what chemicals you’re putting into your body.
Suzanne Somers did a book not long ago on this. She got cancer and decided to get smart on the cause. (She doesn’t smoke, drink in excess, or overindulge in food, btw, and says she never has, so what did this?) After talking with an array of medical experts, she’s convinced it’s chemicals, and she builds a compelling case.
Inactivity. 75%. Ouch. Time to get off the chair, off the sofa, out of the recliner and resign thyself to sweating. Walk. Swim. Do something physical. When you weigh it out, 75%. Contributing to illness and/or dying. 100% to feeling better, stronger and happier (activity releases those endorphins), it just makes sense.
An added bonus is that productivity increases, emotional balance is better, chemical balance is better.
A few months ago, I did a treadmill experiment. And I have to confess, exercising daily I did feel better. I was more energetic, sharper and more focused. A perk I hadn’t expected was that I did my daily writing in about two-thirds the time I typically spend on it. That’s a nice perk.
I attribute that to two things:
1. While walking, I thought about the book. So when I sat down to write, I had seen a lot of the story scenes already inside my head. The writing had been thought through, details emerged, so a lot of the creative work was done before sitting down to write.
2.Higher-energy focus. Think bounce versus drag. That higher level of energy is conducive to intense focus. You think faster, more fluidly, work more efficiently.
We know these things logically. We know them emotionally. But we wrap them up in our typical busy-ness and put them on ignore because they can be put on ignore.
We’re all over-committed and trying to cram way too much into our days. We don’t relax much. We don’t sit still and just be much. I think a lot of writers choose to write because it gives them a license to daydream. It’s legitimate because it’s part of our jobs. But even then, duties call and guess what gives. We do on activity.
So there are major benefits to moving, writers. And when we’re inclined to think of it as a luxury, we need to recall that it’s a necessity. Remember that 75%…