Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Seat of the Matter

by Janis Patterson

I dislike exercise.

A lingering back injury from a crash many years ago, an abomination of sweat and an inclination to indolence all add up to the fact I don’t exercise. Which is bad.

It’s especially bad for a writer, as we tend to sit in pretty much the same position for long stretches of time, and that’s not good for our bodies. Also, a number of us have chairs that aren’t good for us. When I was young and poor I wrote for years sitting on a dining chair. Uncomfortable, absolutely no back support and at the wrong height. Needless to say, I didn’t get much done, either. I was always stretching or getting up because I wasn’t comfortable.

Oddly enough, though, that might have been good. I did get up. I did move every half hour or so, but I didn’t get much writing done.

Nowadays they have standing desks and treadmill desks where you can walk and write at the same time. I shudder at either prospect. I cannot stand for long periods of time. Also, when I walk, I walk and when I write, I write. Although I have friends who swear by their treadmill desk for me they are an accident waiting to happen. I am naturally clumsy; sometimes when I write I get so involved in what I am writing I have to remind myself to breathe. The thought of what could happen at a treadmill desk is downright alarming.

But we do have to look after our health. My solution is a simple kitchen timer. I set it for anywhere from half an hour to forty-five minutes, and when it goes off, I get up, walk around the house for a minute, go to the kitchen (which is at the other end of our long old ranch-style house) for some coffee, do a little cleaning or picking up – anything to get me moving for five or so minutes.

I do have a good chair which, sadly, is so old it is falling apart. I need a new one, but I have had so many bad office chairs which seemed good when I bought them that I hesitate to go shopping for a new one. No, that’s not right. I hesitate to go spending for a new one. Money, as it is with most people, is an issue. I did find the perfect chair – and it costs roughly the same dollar amount as did my first car. Needless to say, that chair’s not gonna happen! At least, not for me, not now.

So – I will go on with my raggedy old chair as long as it holds together and my half hour to forty-five minutes routine. Luckily kitchen timers are cheap.


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I confess to the same problem, not enough exercise. Once I'm really going good with the writing, I hate to stop. Good reminder!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

My sympathies. I too suffer from back problems, and yes, I do sit too much.

Susan Oleksiw said...

I don't have medical problems--yet--that keep me from exercising, but I'd much rather be writing. Your method of getting up every hour or so for a little exercise is a good one, and I try to do the same. Short spurts seem to work, but I also like a nice long walk.

Terry Spear said...

Get puppies! I would sit all day and night writing, editing, promoting. Then I got two Havanese puppies. Now it's an automatic get up constantly to take them out to the bathroom while I'm potty training. Or feeding them. Or getting them more water. Or training them. They are fun, help me get some exercise, nice breaks, and so I don't write as much. They're a joy.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I have a back problem resulting from being hit by a car when I was 17, but I force myself to do treadmill and stationary bike exercises for half an hour while watching TV. I don't dare go to the kitchen because I would probably gain weight. (I'm not a coffee drinker.)

Annay Dawson said...

Love the puppy idea. I have a dog that when she sees a cat in the backyard goes nuts. That usually gets me moving so that she doesn't break something.

Morgan Mandel said...

I walk Rascal every morning, as far as she wants to walk. I also go to Fitness Classes twice a week. I still have issues when I sit too long at the computer and try to get up, and my legs don't want to cooperate. I try to remember to get up from time to time and move about, but sometimes I get too wrapped up and forget. I should set a timer, but often forget to do that as well.