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Fitness for Authors: Staying Active During the Workday

We all know the drill: those endless hours hunched over our desks, lost in the world of our imagination. But let's face it, our bodies need some TLC too. We've gathered some tips and tricks from your fellow authors to help you stay active, healthy, and creative. Dive into these categories and discover how to get moving, one chapter at a time.

Daily Habits and Strategies:

Apparently Dan Brown sets a timer every 50 minutes to do stretches and exercise for ten minutes. Staying active during the workday is essential for authors, not only for our physical health but also for our mental well-being and creativity. By incorporating various forms of exercise into our daily routines, we can maintain a healthy balance between our work and personal lives. Here are some strategies:

  1. Do it first thing in the morning so it gets it out of the way

  2. Set specific times for exercise and treat it like a meeting

  3. Do some form of exercise while making a cuppa, such as a quick downward dog!

  4. Break up your day with household chores, like washing or vacuuming

  5. Use a standing desk

  6. Use an app like Stand Up to remind you to stand up and move every hour.

  7. Stretch in the morning and evening to alleviate neck, shoulder, and back pain.

  8. Schedule exercise sessions around other commitments, like the school run.

What kind of exercise can you do?


Many health experts recommend aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, which can be broken down into 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Many authors aim for 10k steps a day (remember this can include walking around the house and garden). So how can you make writing part of your writerly life?

  1. Incorporate daily walks into your routine, especially if you have a dog

  2. Struggling with a writing issue such as a plot hole or character development? Walk it out. Even better, walk with someone else to talk the issues through

  3. Join a walking challenge with other writers (we're exploring setting one up so watch this space)

  4. Try mindful walking and use it as an opportunity to plan scenes (more about mindful walking here)

  5. Find a walking buddy and set regular times to meet for a walk so you have some accountability

Exercise Classes:

Health experts generally recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week. This can be broken down into shorter sessions spread throughout the week. For example, you could aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week or 25 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise three days a week. By signing up for weekly classes at a local leisure or community centre, you have more accountability. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Try group classes like boot camp, kettlebells, dance classes and aerobics

  2. Sign up for regular pilates, or yoga classes

  3. Explore martial arts classes, like karate or kickboxing.

  4. Try more unusual fitness classes, such as trampoline fitness, Bollywood workouts, pole dancing and hula fitness

  5. Get in the pool for aqua aerobics

  6. Attend the gym for weight training, Olympic lifting, gymnastics, or cardio

At-Home Workouts:

Many authors struggle to get to fitness classes outside the house, whether that be for financial reasons or because they live remotely. But there are plenty of ways to bring exercise into your home...

  1. Follow online exercise programs or YouTube channels, like yoga or Pilates. Authors recommended Move With Nicole.

  2. Use exercise apps such as MyFitness Pal and Nike Training Club to track your progress and stay motivated

  3. Engage in bodyweight exercises, like squats or arm weight challenges

  4. Do HIIT or Tabata workouts in short bursts throughout the day (recommendations from authors: Zach Bush MD / Pahla B / Lucy Wyndham-Read

  5. Have you got gaming consoles at home? There are plenty of fitness programs available, such as Zumba Fitness and even games using virtual reality headsets

  6. Invest in at-home fitness equipment, such as a cross trainer or rowing machine. Put it in your office if you have space so it's a constant reminder you need to work out!

Get outdoors:

Fresh air is so important. As well as walking, explore these options too:

  1. Swim in a pool or open water (weather permitting)

  2. Cycle outdoors or use an electric bike.

  3. Go for a run. Follow the Couch to 5k app for running motivation

  4. Enjoy sports like tennis, skiing, or skating as part of your routine

Join Challenges and Competitions

Sometimes, being part of a challenge really motivates people. Some options include:

  1. Online 30 day challenges for a variety of activities, from yoga to squat challenges

  2. Participate in weekly ParkRuns

  3. Enter a planned walk, run or other activity drive to raise money for charity. Many charities such as Cancer Research UK and Mind organise these

  4. Join a challenge with other writers

And speaking of which... how do you fancy getting involved with a Savvy Writers challenge? Pages and Paces is a weekly challenge for authors, focused on providing accountability to help us achieve two goals: walking more and then speedwriting to get creative juices going. Just head on over to the Wellbeing section to learn more. Or if you're a member of the Savvy Writers' Snug, watch out for an announcement after Easter.



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