Hi SEers! Denise here, and today I’m going to talk about how writing affects our health.
Writing has many benefits for our minds and brain. Letting those written words flow keeps our mind sharp as we get older, helps solve problems, allows us to express ourselves, and opens the door to learning. It can promote happiness, gratitude, and encourage leadership, all from typing or writing your thoughts down.
That’s great for our minds, but does our body reap the same benefits from sitting long hours expressing ourselves? Unfortunately, no.
After sitting at my desk editing for several hours without a break, I notice how tight my muscles are. Then, when I get up, I can barely move; my back and shoulders hurt.
While writing may exercise the brain, we need to take care of the body where our brain lives. Some physical writing-related issues include lower back pain, carpal tunnel, eye strain, weight gain, muscle/tendon issues, headaches, stress, and depression.
Lately, I’ve been taking care of my mind instead of my body. This circles around and cancels some wonderful mental benefits writing offers. I decided it was time to add exercise into my writing routine.
Here are some of my ideas:
Stop every hour and move around.
Pay attention to the body position. Is your keyboard too high or low? How are you sitting? I sit with my left foot on its side. I have no idea why, but later I find it hurts, so I consciously make sure it’s flat, and I’m not slumped over.
If you have wrist pain after writing, make sure your arms are supported and level, not below or above the keyboard. During these breaks, check to see if you’re using good posture while writing!
After some movement, I close my eyes and meditate for a moment. It not only gives my tired eyes a rest but renews my energy and soothes my soul.
Have some extra time? You could take a walk or go on a run during one of these breaks. I find it really sparks ideas, or after a long writing or editing session, it brings me back down to earth and grounds me in reality.
Note: Always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
Desk and equipment while writing
A comfortable chair with armrests is a must, no matter where I’m writing.
A desk, or where you write, needs to be as comfortable as possible. Mine includes a small heater because writing always makes me cold. I keep a constant water supply handy, have my glasses nearby, and some almonds as a snack.
Next, I added some “extras” or under the desk exercise equipment to use while I was writing.
I poured through the many types of under-desk equipment, including treadmills, bicycling, and ellipticals. I finally decided on a moderately priced under the desk elliptical since it’s my go-to exercise machine that’s easy on my joints. I added that under my desk.
The other extra I’d been eyeing for a few years was a desk riser. After some research, I decided on a reasonably priced portable one to move around as needed.
Both are working out better than I hoped. Now I have the option of standing while writing, as long as my feet and back allow, or exercising as I sit. It’s nice to have the option to alternate between the two.
Including writing breaks and movement when I’m creating, I now have a thorough exercise program. This offers a perfect combination for the words to flow freely while encouraging a personal path to the healthiest mind, soul, and body possible.
Do you have a writing exercise routine? How often do you take writing breaks?