June 19, 2012

Exercise ~ An Author's Time


This summer, I'm sharing some articles I wrote last year on An Author's Time. Today I'd like to concentrate on making time for exercise. We all know how important exercise is in a person's life--especially for those who lead sedentary lives like a writer. If we don't exercise, our bodies tend to fall apart! We gain weight, our muscles deteriorate, and our joints become stiff and creaky. 
So, if exercise is so good for us, why is the first thing to go when we're crunched for time? (At least, it seems that way for me.)
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"Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it." Plato
Last year, I began an exercise regimen -  Leslie Sansone's Walk at Home program. It turned out to be a good way for me to fit exercise into my busy schedule. Just slip in the DVD and follow Leslie's "talkative" instruction for 30-55 minutes, depending on how motivated I am that day. I try to do this 4-5 times a week. 
Has it helped? Yes, I'm in better shape. My muscles are more firm, and I don't huff and puff as much as I did when I began the workouts. All good things.  
But how do you stay motivated? Especially when life gets in the way? A good example of this is when I caught a flu bug earlier this month, and then I had to prepare for a writing conference. Exercise was the first thing I gave up. After ten days of no exercise, I had a hard time getting back to my routine and ended up returning to my early workouts of one mile a day. But after two days of that, I was ready for the harder workouts. 
ExerciseMy Top 5 Motivators seem to be:
1) Stop exercising with the goal of losing weight. When I readjust my thinking to exercise for my health and well-being, it tends to keep discouragement at bay. I also record the days I exercise in a journal. This keeps me accountable, but it also serves as a motivator. 
2) Exercise early in the day. My favorite time to exercise is late afternoon. But some days are so hectic that if I put off exercising till late in the day, it won't happen. So if you need to, exercise earlier in the morning or afternoon. 
3) Snack on fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water. We've all heard this advice before, but it's true. When I eat healthy snacks and drink lots of fluids, I feel more energized. And if I'm energized, exercise is easy and something I look forward to.
4) Vary your routine to keep boredom at bay. I've found it helps me stay motivated when I vary my routine. Slip in a new exercise DVD, walk outside, ride a bike, play tennis or softball with your kids. Be active!
5) Challenge yourself and give yourself a rest. Every once in a while, it's good to challenge yourself to go the extra mile--as in 4 miles instead of 3 or 70 minutes of aerobics instead of 50. By the same token, give your body a rest at least two days a week. I usually take weekends off from my walking routine and try to use that time for family activities. 
In closing, remember that exercise is good medicine for your body, and what's good for your body is good for your mind; what's good for your mind is good for your spirit. So get out there and raise your metabolism and get those endorphins pumping. 
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"The sum of the whole is this--walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose." Charles Dickens
Any questions? How do you fit exercise into your work day? Share with us here. Next week, we'll look at another important aspect of an author's time ~ mealtime. Until then, enjoy the moments . . . 
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