Exercise. Some people love it, some people would rather sit on broken glass than do all that jumping about. It would be stereotypical to suggest that all writers are in the latter camp, but there’s no getting away from the fact that writing involves a lot of staying still to get the words on paper.

But there are advantages to exercising, or any kind of movement, from a writing point of view. When you’re concentrating on your body, your mind can work undisturbed, tapping into those hidden pockets of creativity to provide ideas and solutions. A common bit of advice for writer’s block is “go for a walk”.

How famous writers do it

Haruki Murakami runs ten kilometres or swims fifteen hundred meters every day. Kurt Vonnegut does push-ups and sit-ups when he takes breaks. These may not appeal to you but there are plenty of ways to get the blood pumping from climbing to netball to tennis to dance! If you go to the gym, take a tip from Neil Gaiman and try listening to an audio book whilst on the treadmill!

If time is not on your side, you could even try exercising while writing. You could pace around to think about scenes and edits like Philip Roth does. For a more advanced take on that, you can buy (or fashion if you’re a DIY enthusiast) a desk treadmill. Or cut out the hassle and simply try writing while standing up. Many famous writers have tried this including Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and Lewis Carroll.

What type of exercise do you like? Do you write standing up or even on a treadmill? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Related reads

Finding Time to Write
Writer’s Block? Move It!
Reading Out Loud

6 thoughts on “Why Exercise is good for a Writer

  1. I go for walks with my dog most days, and 3 days a week I do weight training. In the summer I do a lot of hiking and fly fishing; the mountains are my office in the summer. I do a lot of writing sitting on the creek bank.

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  2. Between my business and my writing I spend much time in front of a computer and am also aware of the health hazards by sitting too much. I started setting a recurring alarm to go off once per hour at which time I get up and do some housework or gardening or dancing anything that helps me to stretch out and get active for 10 minutes. If I don’t set my alarm I get involved in a project and can sit straight for 12 hours without realizing it. I’ve noticed really good benefits since I started doing this last year.

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