Writing exercises are practices put in place to help us improve as writers. Another way to develop your writing is to incorporate physical exercises into your writing routine. It’s probably fair to say that we all know a good stand-up-and-stretch is a helpful way to pause and get some fresh perspective while engaged in our writing, and an extended period of physical activity can have a significant impact on your writing.
Writers are often sedentary, sitting for long periods of time at a desk, and as much as a good marathon writing session might be for your writing, it isn’t necessarily good for your overall health. It is well documented in scientific studies that physical activity is good for our brain health, particularly aerobic activity, where our heart rate increases, oxygen intake increases, and therefore more oxygenated blood is pumped through our bodies. Mental acuity goes up when we regularly engage in physical activity. For writers, this can be a way to put fuel in our tanks to help us power through in our writing. An invigorating walk or run can help writers sort through ideas, gain perspective, and find a resolution to lingering writing woes.
Research suggests that aerobic activity is one of the best ways to stimulate writers, for reasons both scientific and creative. The scientific reason focuses on how exercise, especially aerobic exercise, increases blood flow to the body as a whole, but especially our brains. The feeling of euphoria or the “runner’s high” that comes will trigger the second reason for fitness as a writer: creativity. That oxygenated blood and endorphins released during exercise, coupled with serotonin and other positive working chemicals in the brain, help to trigger our creativity. So, if you’re looking for inspiration or motivation, a brisk walk or run might be just what you need in order to get the ideas and words flowing.
Even something as simple as stretching can help to stimulate the brain. Writers often are sitting in the same position for hours on end. A good stretch can help to loosen tension, improve blood flow, give your eyes the break they need and your body an invigorating movement that will help stimulate circulation and idea generation.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or uninspired in your writing, try a little physical activity. Get up and stretch, go out for a walk or run (outside if possible), and use exercise as an opportunity to work out your writing as well as your body. A good sweat or stretch may be the key to unlock your writing potential.