August 30, 2010

Sedentary writers need to exercise self-awareness

Spending a lot of time at your desk can produce many manuscripts but, often, many neck or backaches too. If you use a laptop instead of a desktop, you might get comfy then feel achy later. So, next time, check to see if your neck and spine remain in a neutral position as described in the last posting.

Besides keeping your back and joints neutral as you sit, practice self-awareness. Most writers and poets get so caught up in their work, they don’t even notice when fatigue sets in or aches begin to nag, but if you train yourself to listen to your body, you can give more attention to weaker areas then work to strengthen them. How?

Take a break every hour (two at the most) and notice how you’re feeling.

Stir around.

Swing your arms.

Roll your shoulders.

Notice which muscles or joints ache or have tired the most.

Concentrate your exercises on those areas.

Most exercises requires at least enough energy to get out of bed, but some work well on a mattress. For example, rest on your back with your arms at your sides. Lift one leg and hold that position for a count of 10. Do this five times then repeat with the other leg. This exercise will help to strengthen your hips, tighten your stomach, and ease stress in your lower back.

If you have a backache, rest on the bed with your knees bent and your feet flat on the mattress. As you cradle your neck in a pillow, bring your knees toward your chest. With your knees bent, lower your feet to the mattress again. Repeat this exercise five times.

Forget the adage, “No pain! No gain.” Use movements that do not strain.

Throughout the day, stretch like a cat to increase flexibility.

Maintain correct posture.

Assuming your doctor approves, find activities you enjoy.

Swimming and bicycling do not provide enough resistance for strength-training or weight-bearing, but they exercise the body in general and are fun.

To tone muscle and strengthen bones, carry a small weight in each hand as you walk around your home or a mall.

For general strengthening, climb stairs, jog, play ball, or dance around instead of just sitting at a desk, waiting to be inspired. A fun exercise or activity will strengthen your body and increase overall circulation, helping your good mind to find its peak performance too.


(c) 2010, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved.

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