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Monday, June 04, 2007

Exercise for the lazy writer

By
Camy Tang

I am a lazy butt. I freely admit it. I hate going outside and I dislike sweating. (I also tend to sweat a lot, but that’s probably TMI.)

Therefore, I’ve been trying to find ways to “sneak” exercise into my day so I’m not just sitting on fat lazy butt (mentioned above) all day.

Not all these tips will work for you, but any change in your routine will help.

Stand at your computer.

I originally started doing this because I read about it in Levenger catalog. Levenger sells wonderfully cool (and kind of expensive) risers to elevate your computer and your workspace on your desk so that you can stand a little, then sit a little all day.

Sit to Stand Desk
Laptop Lifter

They say that standing and sitting while working is very beneficial health-wise—it enables blood to circulate in your legs more than if you just sit all day. I’ve also read about people standing at their desks all the time. One person even had a slow moving treadmill especially built so he could walk slowly while working at his desk. That’s a bit extreme for me.

Levenger’s risers were a bit expensive for me, but I have tons of cardboard boxes all around the place. I found ones that were the right height (and I cut and reshaped a few to become the right height). I filled them with those Styrofoam packing peanuts really tight, and taped them shut.

I put one box on its end to hold my computer monitor at the proper eye height. I have another one to hold my keyboard, and a third to hold my mouse. They are all ergonomically correct, and I stand at my computer typing for most of the day.

The great thing is that I can also do small leg exercises while I’m standing. I watch Denise Austin’s Daily Workout program on TV, and she always has small exercises she uses for aerobics that are simple to do while at my computer surfing the web.

I do things like:
Stand on one leg and lift the other leg behind me, or to the side, or in front across my body
Kick my heels back toward my butt, alternating legs
Knee raises, alternating legs
Balance on one leg (really works the muscles around my knee, which is good for me since I had knee surgery)

I don’t stand the entire day, I usually alternate between sitting when my feet hurt. I also wear sneakers solely used indoors to protect my feet.

To sit, it’s very easy to lift my monitor onto the desk (I have a lighter flatscreen) and get rid of the box holding it up, and to do the same for my keyboard and mouse. That’s the nice thing about using lightweight cardboard boxes.

Standing and sitting has been extremely beneficial to my lower back problems (an old work-related injury). If I sit too long, my back hurts, but if I alternate sitting and standing, my back doesn’t hurt at all during the day.

Plus, I burn more calories if I stand and sit. A plus for a lazy bum like me.

Walking or cycling

I sometimes will walk or bike outdoors, and usually with an MP3 player. It’s been great for me to listen to writing workshops while I exercise.

Other days, I’m too lazy or the weather is inclement.

Denise Austin has a great walk indoors video that’s basically walking back and forth with some extra exercises thrown in. So sometimes, I’ll do that down my hallway.

Sometimes I’ll listen to a writing workshop on MP3, but other times I won’t listen to anything and I’ll use the time to brainstorm. It’s great because I can stop at any time and write down a particularly good idea.

For indoor cycling, we bought an exercise bike for super cheap at Goodwill, and I’ll do the same thing—either listen to an MP3, or brainstorm. I also can read a book while I’m cycling (it’s a bit harder for me to read while I’m walking).

Do some housework

Did you know you can burn an easy 100 calories vacuuming? How cool is that? And you burn calories while cleaning the bathroom, too!

And if you have an MP3 player, you can listen to writing workshops while doing it!

Be active.

Even if you only have time to do five minutes of walking around, do it during the course of the day. Exercise spread out through the day is just as beneficial as 30 minutes straight.

Also, doing it during the course of the day enables your limbs to move instead of staying stationary at your desk. This will improve circulation in your legs, back, and the rest of your body.

Drink lots of water.

This isn’t really exercise related, but it is health related. Keep a few bottles of water near your writing desk so that you can see them and therefore remember to drink them during the course of the day.

See?

It is possible to get some exercise in, even if you’re super lazy like me.

4 comments:

  1. movement of limbs is indeed important when you sit at your desk for a long time.
    I was wondering though, what kind and where could I get audio writing workshops. I googled something but the results weren't that helpful.

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  2. Great suggestions. I often spend 12 hours a day at my computer, so I am going to try to work part of that time standing up, using your technique of adjusting the computer height with boxes.

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  3. Roxo, I think I emailed you with suggestions, but if I didn't, leave a comment here or email me!

    How to: Thanks! I hope that works out well for you!

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  4. Glad I'm not the only lazy writer out there! I work my way through the ACFW MP3s each year while walking, doing housework and sitting on the exercise bike...it helps me to feel more like a writer too on the days/weeks when the kids are too full on for me to get much writing done - at least I'm still learning about writing so I'll be a better writer when I do get back to it! :) Like your blog Camy! :) Karen

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