Monday, April 29, 2013

Blaze Your Own Trail: Fitness for Writers and Readers

Warm weather always has me thinking of ways to get back into shape after a long winter of holiday food and sitting by the fire with a good book or my laptop. No matter how active I am during the winter, I'm amazed at how much healthier I could be, once the snow begins to melt. I'll try not to bore you too often with posts like this, but I'll warn you now--transitioning seasons brings out this side of me!
Unless you have a writing treadmill, or read while you're exercising, both reading and writing are extremely sedentary activities. I don't know about any of you, but I'm not willing to give up either for the sake of exercise. The trick is to find a way to have both.

It's important to counteract those hours of sitting around, and one of the best forms of exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels, is to walk! No-brainer, I know, but you'd be amazed at how many people I meet who don't do this simple activity. 
Take a walk, take a hike, take a buddy, or your dog. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just get out there and do it. Perhaps the phrase ‘walking is the single best form of exercise for anyone’ wouldn’t be believed by everyone. However, there’s more truth to that than one may realize. Walking 30 minutes a day (though longer is recommended) will help keep you in good health, clear your mind, and open your eyes to something more than the television screen. Time is usually the excuse for lack of exercise, yet how much time is set aside to watch your favorite television shows?

Taking a ramble through the woods, or an evening walk with your spouse or a friend, will do more for you than you may at first acknowledge, and perhaps you won’t see the affects of it right away, but it’s worth every minute you can spare. If you’re not the type to enjoy quiet solitude, take along a headset and enjoy your favorite music, or your best friend and enjoy good conversation.

Combine reading and walking! Walk to the park and read there. Hike a mountain and spend an hour writing at the top, or jotting down notes and ideas for your book. Walk along the beach for a few a miles and then sit down to read. There really are no excuses. 

Walking is also free. In this day it seems that every gym and health club wants you to believe that to be healthy you need to spend hours a week inside lifting, running, or training in a class that leaves you feeling self-conscious.

Wrong! If you don’t have the budget or the inclination to go to the local gym, grab a pair of sturdy shoes and hit the road. Walk 15 minutes from your front door and then walk back. When you’re done you may wish you had walked longer. You don’t need lots of time and money to stay healthy. Here are a few walking tips to remember.

1) Wear a sturdy pair of shoes if you plan on walking through the woods or sloped trails. Otherwise, wear what’s on your feet. Going barefoot won't hurt either if there's nothing to harm the soles of your feet. Enjoy the feel of nature beneath you.

2) Stretch! Regardless that you only walked 30 minutes at a slow pace on flat ground, you’ve still worked muscles that need to be stretched.

3) Don’t let the weather discourage you. Take an umbrella or a warm coat and scarf when the weather turns inclement. A few drops of rain can be fun too.

4) Remember your posture. Keep your back straight and stomach in. You’ll be surprised of the benefits.

5) Walk heel to balls of feet and lift off with your toes, repeating the process.

6) If you miss a day, don’t despair. Just add 5 minutes onto the rest of the days that week.

7) If you want to keep walking, don’t stop. Enjoy each moment and forget about the clock.

There's a bonus! The exercise and fresh air will do wonders not only for your body, but also for your mind. You never know--all that walking around may inspire a new story or have you thinking about picking up that latest adventure novel

Photos courtesy of Google images.


  1. Great post. I love walking. Having said that, I don't do it as much as I should. I live in Texas. I allergies and it's too darn hot to walk for any length of time. I have to find a work around, though.

    1. I love walking too (obviously). I spent a little time in North Carolina and then in New England during some pretty hot summers. The humidity was also tough for me, so I had to go walking really early in the morning. Not always convenient, but I managed. I know a lot of great writers who are from your neck of the woods. :)

  2. Thanks for the encouragement, MK! I walk all the time when I am at the beach and I walk with a group of friends in my neighborhood every morning for 45 minutes before we start the day. And since we live in North Carolina, we know about that humidity!