To paraphrase Jamie K. Schmidt from her fabulous workshop on Writing Novellas, there are 24 hours in a day. That breaks down into:
8 hours of sleep
8 hours of work
8 hours for everything else
8 hours for everything else?
That’s huge! That’s 56 hours a week! That’s more than enough time to fit in everything, including writing and exercise (and laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, and most importantly, nurturing the important relationships in your life).
Hmmm…if I write only 1 hour a day, that still leaves 49 hours a week for everything else, including hitting the gym for an hour every day.
Who am I kidding? It takes more than an hour to pick out cute gym clothes, drive to the gym, work myself into a hot mess, shower, dry my hair, drive home, and dump my sweaty clothes into the laundry.
To be honest, as important as activity is to my overall health and well-being, on many days exercise takes a backseat. I needed to find some alternative since as a writer, I have a sedentary lifestyle by default.
Let’s be honest here. Writers don’t usually move around a lot while they write.
The solution? On those days here you can’t find a way to make it to the gym, sneak in 5 minutes of activity every 45 minutes throughout your day. By the end of an 8 hour workday, that’s a 45 minutes workout!
It’s easy. All you have to do is be a little creative. Climb some stairs. Stand up and sit down at your desk (squats). Take a 5 minute walk. Do wall pushups.
But don’t stop there! Find ways to increase your activity at home. I asked the very creative members of CTRWA what they could do to increase their daily activity at their homes. Here’s some of what they came up with:
- Put on music and dance while getting dressed in the morning.
- Stretch before gong to bed, and after getting out of bed.
- Remain standing while your put on your pants. (I’d like to add to this one: you can work on your balance if you remain standing while putting on your shoes and socks).
- Add 5 minutes of cleaning something to your morning routine (preferably something you have to scrub vigorously; or vacuuming).
- Buy a big dog and step over him while he lies on the kitchen floor. (Or get a puppy, and work your way up as it grows.)
- When you have to make a trip downstairs, turn around and repeat the trip an extra time.
- If you spend most of your time downstairs, store the things you use regularly upstairs to add more stair climbing into your day. And vice versa.
- Wash your floor on your hands and knees.
- Wipe down counters an extra time (not in an obsessive “It’s not clean enough” way, but in a “Wash on, wash off” Karate Kid kind of way).
- Wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care…while sitting on the toilet.
- Scrub the floor around and behind the toilet. That will make everyone happier.
- Do pushups off the bathroom sink.
- Put the most commonly used products in the kitchen on a higher shelf so you’ll have to reach for them. Conversely, put some into the lower cabinets so you will have to bend to retrieve them.
- Open and close the medicine cabinet extra times (no slamming).
- While taking that well-deserved bath, do really slow sit ups. Then soak.
Pretty creative, right?
If you look at this list for what it is, you will find a pretty well-rounded workout. All the major body groups are targeted, and it includes stretching. Intensity can be varied according to your current fitness level.
And, you will be setting a great example for your loved ones.
Print out this list and post it next to your computer/workspace.
Every time you feel like getting up or stretching, pick something off the list and squeeze it in. Your future self will thank you.
I’d say this brings a whole new meaning to the term “Home Gym.” What creative ways can you come up with to increase your activity?