Pop Quiz: When was the last time you exercised?
As writers we sit for hours staring at computer screens. In one way, that is a good thing because we are following our dreams. In another way, it is bad because sitting all day is a silent killer. The benefits of exercise are immense, no matter what shape you are in. Exercise clears the mind. It helps us to deal with anxiety. It helps with depression and alleviating body aches and pains. It helps us to sleep better, live longer, write more.
You can join a gym or exercise group. If you’d rather use the time to connect with your spirit, walk in your neighborhood. Here’s how:
· First, consult with a doctor to make sure it’s safe to exercise.
· Gather your exercise clothes the night before. This takes care of all the excuses we create to avoid exercising.
· Stretch and then walk ten, fifteen, or thirty minutes a day around the neighborhood. A treadmill is another option, but I love the outdoors. Do whatever works for you. Start slow and build on your successes. The end goal is to reach thirty to forty-five minutes at least three days a week. Do more if you can.
· Or participate in an aerobics class and get your heart pumping.
· Use technology to help you. Apps on your cell phone remind you to stand up and stretch or take a five minute break. My favorite app is Stand Up.
Pop Quiz: When was the last time you experienced a moment filled with serenity instead of worry or fear?
Incorporating time for reflective meditation is just as important as exercise or eating a balanced diet. Meditation is not complicated and doesn’t require you to sit in an uncomfortable position for hours, repeating mantras. It helps to alleviate stress, anxiety, and live in the moment.
All it takes is a little practice. Start slow and build up to thirty minutes a day. Here’s how.
· Sit quietly in a chair or stretch out in a prone position.
· Take a deep breath to the count of two seconds and release it to the count of four seconds. Repeat three times.
· Relax your muscles starting at the top of your head, your eyes, shoulders, arms, fingers, stomach, thighs, legs, ankles, feet, toes.
· Create a positive image in your mind and hold it. Focus on the feeling the image gives you. Or just sit quietly and calm your mind. Don’t try to push away any thoughts that surface. Let them flow through your mind as you refocus on the moment.
Are you up to the challenge?