By Javacia Harris Bowser
Sitting is the new smoking!
That’s a statement people started to toss around a few years ago and at this point that claim probably makes you strain your eye rolling muscles.
Nonetheless, it’s no secret that a sedentary lifestyle is bad for your health and this made me wonder if writing and blogging could be bad for mine. After all, I do sit to write. And if you’re struggling to make time to write a book or build a blog you may opt to skip the gym so you can work on a chapter or a post.
In a May 2018 article for the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Edward Laskowski, co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center and a professor at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, writes that research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels and even seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Dr. Laskowski reports that an analysis of 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels found that people who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by obesity and smoking, hence the whole “sitting is the new smoking” brouhaha. However, this analysis also found that 60 to 75 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a day countered the effects of too much sitting and another study found that sitting time contributed little to mortality for people who were active.
If you sit at a desk all day at work only to come home to sit in front of your home computer to work on your book or blog that’s a lot of sitting! However, according to this research, this doesn’t mean you need to give up your blog or your writing dreams. You just need to exercise. But how do you make time for both?
Of course, you need to speak with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen, but If you’re going to make time for writing and working out you also will need three things: commitment, community, and creativity.
Commitment. If you’re juggling your blog or book project with a full-time job and a family chances are you have to meticulously plan your days, setting aside a time and a place to write. Commit to doing the same thing for exercise. I know I do my best writing early in the day so I try to write first thing in the morning before I go to my day job. Also, writing before work frees up more time after work, thus allowing me time to run, do yoga, or exercise with my favorite fitness DVD.
Community. If you don’t have a writing or blogging buddy you need to get one. And while you’re at it you need to get a workout accountability partner, too. Better yet, ask your writing or blogging buddy to also be your workout accountability partner. You could meet for writing or blogging sessions and then hit the gym. Or you could go for walks together while discussing ideas.
Creativity. Get creative and find a way to incorporate fitness into your writing. If you’re trying to lose weight, blog about it. If you’re training for a big race, blog about that. There are also some creative ways to avoid sitting so much while you’re working. Try using a standing desk or working at counter in your home. There are even desks designed to be used with treadmills so you can stay in motion throughout the day. You may find that this even boosts your creativity. When I’m writing at home I often start at the desk in my home office and then move into my living room or bedroom to work. Eventually I end up standing at my counter-high kitchen table, which is exactly where I was when I typed these words.
You don’t have to choose between writing and wellness. I’ve always believed that writing and exercise can and should go hand in hand. I get some of my best ideas when I’m out walking or running. And there’s something about physical activity that makes me eager to create. Keep writing and keep moving.