So you’re a writer. That doesn’t mean you have to join the Couch Potato Club. Even if you’re the type of person who loves to curl up with a good book (like me) or camp out with a laptop crafting a story (also like me), you can still be the person who goes out into the world (or at least out into your neighborhood) to get some exercise. In fact, it might even help your writing.
It has helped mine. If I go for a run or a bike ride in the morning, I have more energy throughout the day to write. When I’m spending several hours revising, I may get frustrated or lose steam half way through. If I take a break and go for a short walk, I always come back rejuvenated and ready to get to work.
Here’s four ways exercise can improve your writing.
- According to the Mayo Clinic, physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel- good neurotransmitters called endorphins. When you feel good, you feel less stressed. I don’t know about you, but I write much more productively when I’m not stressed or worried.
- You’ll get your best ideas while performing mindless or mundane tasks. Have you ever gotten a great idea while driving in the car, or while in the shower? That’s because when you relax, the creative section of your brain is free to take over. I get some of my best story ideas while taking a hike or long walk. The rhythmic patter of my sneakers is all I need for distractions of the day to fade away. I now look forward to these walks. It’s like an excuse to goof off and think about my story.
- Regular exercise can improve your mood and help you to sleep better. Most writers I know wake up crazy early in the morning or stay up way too late at night to write. You may think you can’t wake up any earlier to work out, but that’s exactly what your body may need even if you can only manage it a few days a week. You’ll focus better when your awake and sleep better at night.
- Experiencing the world can give your writing inspiration. Change it up. Get away from your computer. Change up your daily routine too. Do what you love. Swim, bike, run, ski. Whatever it is, give your mind a break from writing. As much as we writers love to stay put and write, real life experiences make us better writers. What better way to get those life experiences than experiencing life away from your computer…one step at a time.
Why not give it try? See how adding some outdoor activities can work for you. Who knows, you may even write your next story about parasailing or hang gliding or zip- lining. Okay or maybe just walking. That works too!