Thursday, November 15, 2018

Tips to Stay Physically Active When Writing

by Susan U. Neal RN, MBA, MHS 

Physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your health. However, how can you exercise when you are sitting on your behind writing? This post provides tips about how to add movement into a writer’s daily routine.

Manage Your Schedule
You’ve got a deadline, so how in the world can you add a workout into your routine? You don’t have to stop working to be active. Instead, every time you take a bathroom break, do ten squats and lunges before plopping back down in your chair. Merely add a little movement during every bathroom break. 

Become consciously aware of every opportunity you can add movement to your daily routine. So when you are waiting for the coffee to brew or tea to steep, go ahead and stoop down and touch your toes—do this ten times. Intentionally add little blips of movement into the cracks of your day. Like when you are waiting for the dog to finish his business, perform some squats.

When I realized how sedentary the writing life could be, I ordered a portable desk with an adjustable height top (Amazon link to desk) and a mini stair stepper (Amazon link to mini stepper). Now when I peruse social media, I move my laptop to this desk and start climbing some stairs. Talk about a workout; my legs burn after just a few minutes. 

Another idea is to purchase portable bicycle pedals to place in front of your chair (Amazon link to desk bicycle). You can pedal away as you work. Now that is an ingenious way to burn up some calories as you steam along with your writing. In addition, the physical activity gives you energy and clarity of mind. 

As writers we end up reading and editing our work so print out your work, grab a pen, and walk all over the house as you edit. Go from room to room for as long it takes. You can get many steps in using this technique. Another option would be to walk in the shallow end of your pool (if you have one) while you read and edit. Yep, you heard me correctly. I do this all the time. I catch some Vitamin D from the sun, walk round and round in the shallow end of my pool, and edit my work or read a book, magazine, or article. Then I finish up with swimming ten laps.

Another physical activity you can perform while reading is lifting weights. Place the item you will be reading on your portable desk or table. Use three to five-pound weights for lifting your arms at your side and in front of you. Use eight to ten-pound weights for arm curls and raising the weights over your head. You could also use exercise bands instead of weights. Resistance bands were included with my mini stair stepper. Lifting weights or exercising with bands is a great upper body work that you can easily perform a couple of times a week while reading. 

Whenever we want to improve something in our lives we need to be intentional about it. So plan how you can incorporate physical activity into your writing life. Physical exercise prevents chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease, depression, and cancer, and it prevents premature death. Enough said we need to get up and move!

Bottom Line
To summarize, here is a list of some ways a writer can incorporate physical activity into their daily routine:
  • At the end of each bathroom break do squats and lunges before you sit back down.
  • Touch your toes whenever waiting for food or beverages to heat up. 
  • Get on your stair stepper when perusing social media. 
  • Pedal your portable bicycle while writing.
  • Walk all over the house while reading and editing.
  • Walk in the shallow end of the pool while reading.
  • Lift weights or use resistance bands while reading.

Can you think of some other ways to incorporate exercise into a writer’s daily routine? I would love to hear your ideas and incorporate them into my routine. May God help us take care of our bodies as we write for his kingdom.


Susan Neal RN, MBA, MHS inspires others to be healthy, so they can serve God better. She has a Master’s of Health Science as well as Business Administration from the University of Florida. She is a Registered Nurse and worked at Shands Hospital (RN), Mayo Clinic Jacksonville (Assistant Administrator), and Blue Cross Blue Shield (Quality Assurance Nurse). Susan practiced yoga since 1983 and began teaching in 1994. Susan began teaching Scripture Yoga in 2004. She is a certified Sports Yoga instructor with the National Endurance & Sports Training Association (NESTA).

Connect with Susan further on her websiteFacebook, and Twitter.


  1. Ooh! I want one of those portable bicycle pedals! That looks like a great tool for a writer to have in his/her arsenal! Thank you so much for sharing all these good tips! I've really struggled with my sedentary state of late and really need to commit to more activity.

    1. Christmas is the perfect time for Santa to buy the portable bicycle pedals for you!

  2. Love this! While I'm working on my laptop and on the treadmill! Writers must have their bodies and minds in good shape - to the best of their ability.

    1. Do you have a platform to put your laptop on while you walk on your treadmill?

  3. I love the stair stepper idea! What a great way to redeem all the time spent surfing the internet! I find when I'm inactive I feel sluggish as well as uninspired to write. Getting my heart rate up with a good workout every day is key for me so I've developed a weekly routine that fits easily into my day and is enjoyable, too. If I don't enjoy it I know I won't keep at it!

  4. Great tips! I have severe back issues happening and pausing to get up and stretch and walk around the room helps me. :-)

  5. I sit on a relaxobak seat that is designed to provide proper alignment for your back. It is portable, costs less than $20, and is great for anyone with back issues.

  6. Oh these are fantastic. I was just sitting here with my numb bum and thinking, I should get up and DO something. Thank you.