Mens sana in corpore sano.

We all go through periods where we don’t want to drag our behinds out of bed to do some work, whether that’s duties around the house, a job at the office, or staring at the glaring computer screen. One way to be certain you stay at your creative best, though, is to make sure you are (wait for it) healthy.

I hate to sound like my grammar school physical education teacher, Miss Sobolowsky, but exercise truly is good for you. (She was the first person to suggest I exercise to reduce the discomfort of menstrual cramps, and darn it if she wasn’t right.) Not only is regular exercise good for your body, but it’s good for your mind, too. And a healthy mind is invaluable to an artist.

(Actually, this is Israeli high jumper Danielle Frenkel, not my grammar school PE teacher.)

Feeling “uninspired?” You may be amazed what wonders a brisk walk or run, a swim, or a sweaty workout will do to get your creativity flowing again. Part of the reason, I’ve found, is because the rush of endorphins brought on by physical exertion opens the blood vessels, which gets your heart pumping faster, sending more blood to your brain. (Nothing like a natural head-rush!)

Depending on your choice of exercise, it also allows you time alone, which you can use to clear your head and maybe consider a new way out of that tricky corner into which you’ve written your characters.

I realize not everyone has time to devote to a regular workout, of course, especially those with hectic household or occupational schedules. But play time with [insert animal or child of choice here] can function as exercise, too. The same can be said for doing the chores (raking leaves, for example, can be a monotonous task…until you put yourself in your character’s shoes, and think about how they’d deal with the job) or running errands. Even a 30-second dance break at your desk can give your body – and your brain – a quick recharge. (Have a rave in your chair. It’s fun!)

In space, no one can hear you exercise. So why not grunt as hard as you can?

So, the next time you’re feeling like the world – either the one you’ve created or the one outside your window – is getting you down, jump up and get your blood pumping. You really will feel better.

What’s your favorite kind of exercise?

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9 thoughts on “Mens sana in corpore sano.

  1. Well, that’s the great thing about the military. I’m always working on strength or cardio or both. Maybe that’s why my little notepad is brimming with story ideas and seeds of potential.

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    • You’re right, Shade – the military does ingrain in a person the valuable routine of regular exercise.
      Admittedly, I’m vain, so I exercise to try and stay in shape. But I have found I’m more productive mentally when my body’s been kickstarted with those endorphins.
      Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Ha! I remember that video you put with you raving in your chair! :D

    My campus is very hilly, so for someone as small as me, just walking up and down the hills with a 12-pound backpack is killer! It takes me at least 15 minutes from the parking lot to my class, plus the addition of walking around to get from place to place during my downtime. I’ve gotten so much thinking done for writing in those quiet walks and I love it. And since I go five days a week, I feel even better about myself, especially since I found a pair of shorts I used to wear 7 years ago that fit me again today! Huzzah!

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    • I still have that video, though I should update it so it’s not so strobe-y. ;)

      Walking is a delightfully easy exercise; it was my first step into a daily routine when I was at school. Actually, if I don’t get in my regular 2-mile walk a day (I have a commute to work), I feel pretty sluggish. (And you’re right about those backpacks, spooney – they really teach you about balance and endurance!)
      Thanks for commenting!

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  3. This must be a sign. This is the second post I’ve read today about the importance of exercise. I must start doing some! Dance classes are my favourite type of exercise, but I also love bike riding and swimming. I just don’t do them often enough.

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    • Vanessa, those are great exercises! I understand the issue of time, though. Even a brisk walk after supper with the family is a nice alternative to sitting in front of the television, at least health-wise…though, sometimes, young children can too easily coerce us adults into making that walk a trip for ice cream! :D
      Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. I need to exercise more. I keep saying that every time someone posts something about the benefits of exercise. I do walk the kids to school, which is about a 10-minute walk each way. And I love to hike on Sundays with the kids–the one day of the week when we’re not rushing around. But it’s all sporadic and not regular enough to feel like I’m officially exercising. Thanks for this awesome reminder to get my butt in gear. :)

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