Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Use It Or Lose It

There's lots of talk about exercising your literary muscles but what about your own muscles? Lets face it, as writers we do tend to sit a lot. I've recently noted that my own fitness has deteriorated and gardening literally renders me physically weak. It's ridiculous. I'm also notoriously lazy and could forge a new career in 'putting things off.'

However, It's a simple fact that life can get in the way - if we allow it. So, I'm tackling this head on. I sit at my laptop writing, daydreaming, star gazing - I'm by a window so I can't help looking outside now can I? But, taking regular breaks is not only important for your mind but also for your body. And I know I'm not a fitness expert but I do read a lot and have picked up a few tips along the way. I've since devised my own 'concise' routine.

So, I get off the chair, saunter over to the kettle, flick the switch and make a good old revitalising cuppa. I know what you're thinking - this is my exercise. Not quite although technically it does qualify for moving around. Next, whilst standing at the work bench, you can perform a multitude of exercises. The thing is, it's not exactly the recognised place for such activity but if, like me, you're unable to fit an exercise routine in and head off to the gym or the pool then who cares where or how you do it?

I can do daily stretches on a morning, standing in the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil.

I can do a number of squats whilst the tea is stewing in the pot.

I can muster the strength to do some leg raises after pouring the tea, waiting for it to cool.

Later on, during next tea break, before drinking tea, I do a quick 5 minutes worth of sit ups.

Add to this list the fact that I do all my housework -hoover ferociously with spirit; dust like a madwoman and generally dash around when on the move. I even 'jog' up the stairs - all good cardio workouts. This extra routine alone takes me about 20 minutes per day.

Plus I have a few walks per week with the dogs and generally go swimming once a week/fortnight.

I can honestly say that it seems to be working. Admittedly it's been a gradual improvement. Going to the gym three times a week would have probably delivered me a fitter physique by now but as i said before, that's not possible for me.

And if anyone's wondering about the next one, yes, armchair exercises really are worth it. Particularly good if you have a disability or debilitating condition such as arthritis. Some towns even have armchair exercise classes and they're highly recommended so next time you're sitting down, have a go. I do them when I'm watching television sometimes -I'm a self confessed fidget and have difficulty staying still for longer than 5 minutes if not fully entertained so that's my excuse.

Sadly these days, TV is not all that thrilling. Even the soaps are failing to hold my attention - far too much doom and gloom. I used to prefer watching 'Emmerdale' but 'Coronation Street' has overtaken them all for the simple fact that it's the only soap that manages to integrate comedy with drama.

The greatest thing apart from fitness or losing weight is that exercise really does transport the old grey matter to a better place. It's refreshing and it provides a unique literary workout. A friend used to say to me, 'Life is what you make it.' She was right. Even when it seems to be going pear shaped, if you stand by and watch, things may well crumble. However, if you apply yourself you have a chance to preserve things. So I choose to preserve things as best I can even if I do sound deluded.