Morgan Jt

A writer who paints

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How Regular Exercise Makes You A Better Writer

“Just as iron rusts from disuse, even so does inaction spoil the intellect.”
– Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

We all heard how exercise is important to us and our physical bodies. But do we realized that exercise is a vital part in making us better writers?

Where’s the connection in that, you ask.

What I used to imagine a writer does all day:
Sit at the desk all day in front of a type writer or a computer … Then the muse appeared and bless the hard thinker with a beautiful and intriguing story to write about. If the writer is truly gifted, he or she becomes a best seller. What a life!

We all know by now that that’s not the case. Now that I’m a full time writer, I realized there are no muses visiting you without you doing the back-breaking hard work first. And you can take that to the bank.

Funny enough, I also found that having a written schedule help as well. That’s like making an appointment with your personal muse. So the muse knows the best time to visit you… while you’re working.

There are so many tools out there to help us write, but a lot of us overlook the importance of regular exercise to our bodies and minds.

Do you know that inactivity actually changes the brain structure? It’s true, according to this research.

What happens to our brains when we exercise?

When you start exercising, your heart beats faster, blood pressure increases, breathing quickens, the body thinks of this as “stress” situation. So in order to protect yourself and your brain from this stress, your body will release a protein called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which has protective and reparative quality to your memory neurons, pretty much a reset switch for the brain.

Then another interesting chemical reaction happens in our body. Our body releases this awesome thing, calledendorphins, in your brain in order to fight off the stress. The main purpose of the endorphins is to help minimize the discomfort resulting from the strain our body receives from the exercise. It helps block the pain and kind of gives us the feeling of euphoria.

Want an example? Go look at the faces of people to run 26 miles marathon. (Just kidding but anyway, you get the idea)

That’s why we feel more at ease and able to see things more clearly during or after we exercised. We actually feel happier. So this BDNF and endorphins are our friends.

If anything, your brain is actually more active during an exercise than when you are sitting at the desk, staring at the computer screen or trying to concentrate.

What we get when we exercise (regularly)

1. It improves physical health
Physical activity gives you many benefits. If you get some exercise everyday, even a moderate workout for 20-30 minutes, you will feel better, eat better,have more energy and are more confident in yourself.

2. It improves mental health 
This research showed that exercise actually helps improve mental health. It keeps the depression and anxiety disorders away as well. It results in better mood, better well-being, better creativity and productivity, and better problem-solving ability.

3. It reduces risks for diseases
Evidence shown that regular exercise can help prevent several chronic diseases, some worth mentioning are diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.

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Reference: confrontingchronicpain.com

4. It improves sleep 
Regular exercise equals more regular sleeping hours. There’s a benefit to sleep when you exercise regularly.

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Reference: nosleeplessnights.com

Also, there’s a study of insomnia that showed how regular exercise can help improve sleeping cycle of the participants. Long term regular exercise can be the best prescription to treat insomnia, too. While other studies show how regular exercise results in better sleep, hence, better rest.

5. It reduces stress
Vigorous physical activity helps give you better sleep and helps give you better mood because it helps lower the anxiety levels.

This study shows that regular physical activity can reduce stress and improve overall mood, confidence and self-esteem.

Creating an exercise routine for yourself

Exercising regularly takes a certain amount of will and building new habits. It’s more about doing a little bit everyday than going nuts once a week.

Let’s look at how we can create a routine with exercise time.

1. Track your activity

Track how much you actually move on a daily basis can be scary. But this is a great way to understand how much physical activities you actually do daily. You can use a simple activity tracker or if you are already exercising regularly, just use and additional app for the additional affirmation.

Best activity tracker Apps you can try (for free or with in-app purchase)

  1. Runtastic Pedometer
    This app is a good start. It works for iOS and Android phones. All you have to do is take your smartphone with you when you walk.
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  2. Pedometer++
    This is another app you can try. This app only works on iOS platform, however. It will help you track your steps throughout the day or week and it doesn’t really weigh that heavily on the smartphone’s battery either.
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  3. Runkeeper
    Another app worth mentioning especially for runners is Runkeeper. This app works on both iOS and Android platforms.
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  4. Moves
    This app works on both iOS and Android platform. It works more like an activity tracker rather than running or exercise trackers. But you can use this app to track steps, running, cycling activities as well. This all will always be on so there’s no need to start or stop the app. It might consume a good amount of battery so daily charge is recommended because the app is running all the time.
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2. Set reminders

You can set reminders on your phone to go off every hour or hour and a half to remind you to get away from the desk and move around a little bit.

Use this trigger to remind you to get up and move around.
Go down the street for 5 minutes. If you work in an office building, go walk up and down 2-3 flights of stairs to get the blood flow going or even walk around the room for a couple of minutes.

3. Build routine you can keep

It helps to build some activities into your daily routine. This might be an effective way to increase your exercise levels.

Get off the train one stop early and walk. (This might not work in Thailand because you might just be soaked in sweat by the time you get to the office, and we don’t want that.) Just schedule some kind of physical activities into your daily routine for 5-10 minutes every day. You’d be surprised how soon you get used to this new routine.

4. Keep track of what you do

Keep a note on what you do daily. You can write down with pen and paper or use the note app on your phone to do this.

6 AM – wake up, take a shower and get dressed
7 AM – leave the house to catch the bus to work
8:30 AM – 5 minutes walk around the building before work starts
8:45 AM – plan out the tasks for the day’s work, go over notes from yesterday
9 AM – full steam ahead
11 AM – 5 minutes walk up and down 3 flights of stairs
12 PM – lunch
1 PM – back to work
3:30 PM – 5 minutes walk up and down 3 flights of stairs …, etc.

You get the idea.

All in all, I’m not saying that we should all become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’m just saying, from many researches and studies, here’s my conclusion when it comes to exercising daily. A 15-30 minutes brisk walk per day will help keep the diseases away. A good aerobic or yoga exercise for an hour a day will help keep the diseases away and help increase your creativity level as well.

So are you going to do some exercise today? Have you had a ‘eureka’ moment while you exercise before? Have you benefit from exercising everyday as a writer? Please share in the comment section below.

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