By Thonie Hevron
The jury is in: sitting is the new smoking; it’s hazardous to your health. And what do writers do? Sit and write. I’d stay in my chair all day if I didn’t have reminders to get up and get moving.
June’s topic is “This Job is Killing Me.” Odd title for a piece on writing? Well, not really. When I was at work in the 70’s and 80’s, I was trim and three dress sizes smaller. I wore a uniform, walked a lot, and was in and out of my car. In the mid-80’s, I changed jobs and came inside, mostly as a dispatcher. Then, the pounds added up. Dispatching is a sedentary job as is writing. While I’ve been a fitness addict for decades, I still gained weight. It got even worse when I quit smoking. So now I’m facing some ugly truths: I must do something to fix this weight gain. I just started a helpful weight management program and feel like although I’m making progress, I know this isn’t the sole answer. I have to move.
I’ve had Fitbits in the past but this month, my hubby gave me a Fitbit Charge 2 for my birthday. Just what I needed. No, really. I remember lying in bed as a child, counting things. So, I’m prone to counting. That’s a good thing as a Fitbit user: the device does the actual counting for you. It includes heart rate, steps, get up and move reminders. The best part is setting a goal, say 7500 steps in a day—and achieving it. I don’t need the little fireworks on the screen to feel accomplished. To see the numbers is enough.
And how can this help, you ask?
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) advise adults to get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate to intense aerobic activity (or about 20 minutes a day) plus two days of muscle-strengthening activity. Yet the CDC estimates that nearly 80 percent of Americans don’t meet these recommendations.
I mentioned above that I recently began a weight loss program. I like it because it is a long-term change to my behavior. When I began it 7 weeks ago, I vowed to exercise four days a week with weights (20 minutes a session) and walk six days a week. With the exception of some traveling and a stinking cold, I have kept this up. And guess what? My weight is lower—not by much, but it is going down. And I’ve lost inches! But most important, last week when I knelt down to get something deep in the under-sink cabinet, I could. That was a huge incentive.
How and what I eat as well as how and when I move have become important. Weight Watchers and other programs can do the same. Take a look at what works for you. Some can simply count calories, others need more structure and support. While related to fitness, food is a different topic that I won’t explore here. It’s moving, breathing, running, stretching, that have me excited.
As for writing: Exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood. Huffpost’s article suggests exercise increases creativity.
I can’t help but think all this will help me weave those elusive clues together into a tightly-stitched plot. I get some of my best ideas on a treadmill!
Below, I’ve included a few links to articles for those who don’t like or don’t have time to work out. Check them out and I’ll bet you can find something that will work for you.
Your life could depend on it.
10 Ways to Sneak Fitness into Your Day-this one is for our senior readers
Dr. Axe’s Exercise Hacks
8 Steps to Fitness for Writers
On June 9th, Dave Freedlander, author of Lincoln 9 will offer his insights into the sport that kept him trim and fit into his sixties.