Being a blogger creates its own unique set of fitness issues. Most of us generally have “real” jobs and write on the side. This means two main things: we sit at desks for a really, really long time; and because we work and blog, we don’t move around as much as we should. So below are some fitness tips especially for bloggers. These would also apply to desk jockeys working long hours pretty much anywhere.
1. Make time for cardio. Cardio is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself healthy. Blogging can be stressful as it usually means additional commitments on top of your regular job. It’s easy to get stressed about creating regular posts but cardio can help alleviate that stress. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes three times per week, but ideally try for 30 to 45 minutes five or six days per week. I promise you that cardio will make you a better writer. Take the time while you’re exercising to think of new posts to write. It works like a charm for me.
2. Strengthen your upper back. We slouch forward, head pulling towards our screens. This can create tension headaches and upper back and neck pain. To help alleviate this, strengthen the muscles between and below your shoulder blades. One exercise that can accomplish this is reverse dumb bell flies. Grab light weights (three to five pounds) and lean forward in a chair over your knees. Make sure there is plenty of room on either side of you. Stretch your hands towards the floor while you hold the weights. At the bottom, exhale while you reach your hands out and to the side, rising up to about shoulder height. Hold for a count of two and then lower back down to the floor. Do three sets of 8 and work up to three sets of 12.
3. Add extension work to your workouts. Our spines are rounded forward all day long as we hunch over our monitors. This is called flexion. We need to undo all that forward curvature with the inverse, which is called extension. A simple extension move is the yoga move called the Cobra. Lie on the floor, tummy down, palms of your hands by your ears on the floor. Inhale to push your hands into the floor and start to arch away from the floor. Make sure you’re pulling your belly button up and away from the floor towards your spine. Go as high as is comfortable for you. You don’t need to straighten your arms unless it feels good. Hold for a two count and then exhale and return to the floor. Do five reps and work up to 10.
4. Stop eating crap. Just because you’re busy is no excuse to eat vending machine food or pile up the take-out bags in the garbage. It’s juts as easy to order a salad as a hamburger at a restaurant. Take the time to cull your area for healthy meals and go there if you can’t cook your own. If you do cook, pile on the fruits and veggies, shy away from white flour and overly processed options, and eat clean. This will keep your mind sharp and the words will just flow from your fingerstips to the screen.
5. Weave in some mind/body work. Pilates, tai chi, yoga; all of these movements force you to focus on what you’re doing and only what you’re doing. This means you can’t worry about your deadlines, guest posts, or comments. This is an amazing opportunity to unplug and rest. Try to weave in at least one class per week. You can even do this online or through your cable company if they offer on-demand video, so you can’t use the excuse that it’s hard to find a class near you.
6. Stretch your wrists and hands. Carpal tunnel happens, regularly, to bloggers. The keyboards can really do a number over time and I find it’s worse with laptops. (I use a laptop.) Stretch your wrists and your fingers regularly. First, extend your arm out in front of your body with your inner elbow facing the ceiling. Hold onto your hand with your other hand and bend the fingers down towards the floor until you feel a stretch in the wrist. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. For the fingers, gently pull each finger away from the wrist. Again, be gentle; you’ll feel the fingers instantly loosen up. Try to do this once for every hour that you’re keyboarding.
So what do you do to stay fit as a blogger? Do you find exercise helps stoke your creativity? Share here so we can all learn from each other :-)