How many times have you seen the advice to take a walk when you need some creative inspiration? It’s a common “device” used by many writers and artists. While your body is occupied getting some much-needed exercise your brain is free to play with plots, color combinations or choosing the right fiber to knit the new scarf with. Exercise even improves your brain health. Check out this article on that subject from The New York Times.
I’m all for keeping my brain happy and healthy, but knowing how good exercise is for my entire body doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. It does involve putting down the laptop, getting up from the desk, setting aside a project, etc. and moving. And if you don’t move often, there will be some degree of pain added to that equation. Even the low-stress, and loved by many writers and artists, exercise of walking can bring about some uncomfortable results – especially when you first start doing it. Blisters, sore muscles, bug bites, sunburn – I know I’ve gotten all of those things from walks in the park. For me, the key to sticking with an exercise routine is constantly reminding myself that the benefits outweigh the negatives. I write “Exercise” in my date book and try to incorporate exercising into my daily routine, so it becomes a habit like brushing my teeth or cooking dinner.
Another key to sticking with exercise is finding a routine that works for you. I am not into exercising in public, so classes are not my thing. Walking the dog at the park is a fine way to fit in some cardio, but that involves getting dressed in socially acceptable clothes (I am a writer. Sweat pants and raggedy t-shirts are my standard uniform.) and then driving to the park. It takes times and sometimes I’m not willing to stop writing that long. So, recently, I’ve turned to exercise “breaks”. Instead of getting all of my exercise done in one, thirty-minute time slot I’ve been doing several short routines. Whenever my brain is feeling sluggish or my shoulders are aching from being hunched over my keyboard, I get up and do a burst of exercise. I often do free video routines that I’ve found on YouTube and I love them. In fact, I’ve found that many of the exercises are double or triple-duty, meaning they work several muscle groups at the same time. I’ve noticed that my heart rate is higher and I sweat more (which is a good thing…really) after doing these short routines than when I do a longer, less intense routine.
Here is a list of 10-minute routines I found on the Fitness magazine website. We have a Wii video game system and I can broadcast YouTube videos on my television through the Wii, so it’s just like watching a fitness DVD. There are some fabulous workout videos on YouTube, something I had never really looked into before because I had to watch the videos on my computer. If you’re interested, here is a link to my 10-15 Minute Workouts playlist on YouTube. I have close to 60 different videos listed there and I add more as I discover them. By the way, my favorite videos are by Jessica Smith. She even has a playlist off all of the 10-minute workouts she has produced. By the way, I’m not affiliated with her, I just love her workout routines!
Do you think exercise improves your creativity? What is your favorite form of exercise?