Fitness for Bloggers

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 :-) Thanks, Lisa

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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25 Responses to Fitness for Bloggers

  1. Alison September 20, 2010 at 8:21 am #

    Hi Lisa,

    You are so right!

    When I first started blogging, I would be glued to my computer hours at a time – especially if I was trying to work out a technical or design issue.

    Now I understand the stereotype of the obsessed developer who never leaves (or showers) for days and lives off pizza!

    I found I was getting too stiff for my afternoon run, so I started scheduling a session in the morning. Alternating with a Jillian Michaels workout (puff, puff). And getting refills for my water glass throughout the day became a healthy reminder to hydrate and stretch.

    So thanks for this reinforcement! I will be referring to your advice ongoing to keep on track. And plan to share with some colleagues.

    Best regards,

    See you in the Third Tribe!

  2. Lisa Johnson September 20, 2010 at 8:35 am #

    Thank you Alison. That sounds like a great combination; exercise DVD and water. Thanks for stopping by … L–

  3. linda lopeke September 20, 2010 at 9:19 am #

    Excellent tips, Lisa! It is very easy to become so engrossed in our work that many hours can pass (and many meals can be missed) in a single sitting. Many of my best ideas come from my daily walk too. In fact, it’s time for me to head out to the gym now (it’s a 3-mile walk) so I can get a good start to the day. ;o

  4. Lisa Johnson September 20, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    Linda, enjoy … :-) L–

  5. Alysa Bajenaru, RD, CPT September 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    These are some great tips! Strengthening your back is so important to avoid a permanent hunch. Stretching your chest can be a good partner to this. Place one hand on either side of a doorway at chest level. Step through the door, leaving your hands on the doorframe and stretch your chest for 30 seconds.

  6. Lisa Johnson September 20, 2010 at 1:40 pm #

    Alysa, I use that one myself, thanks for adding it. I was also considering adding a foam roller stretch … love those! Thanks for stopping by L–

  7. Mind Your Body September 20, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Hi Lisa,
    We love #5 at Mind Your Body Pilates and GYROTONIC! An hour of pilates not only helps stretch and strengthen, but also gives you time to focus and BREATHE!

  8. Angie Newton September 20, 2010 at 3:59 pm #

    Awesome tips! I especially needed to read the one about stretching your wrists and hands as lately have been having wrist issues. My personal trainer has given me some things to do and is obviously doing workouts that don’t irritate it. But I need to remind myself to do those stretches while at my desk during the day. I do work from home FT and am on the computer most of the day so this really helps. I do however try to get the gym every day, get outside or do an in home workout.

    Oh and I have to tell you, I have been going to Pilates for over a month now and I’m starting to enjoy it. Hubby is happy that I have joined him in class every week. Thanks for the gentle nudge a while back.

  9. Lisa Johnson September 20, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    Yay! Angie, that’s why I do this blog! Gentle nudges :-) you just totally made my day. And definitely on the wrist/finger stretches … important to keep them limber. L–

  10. Lisa Johnson September 20, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    Mind Your Body … Glad you like #5, me too! L–

  11. Satu September 21, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

    You have hit the nerve! :-)

    I have started increasing my everyday physical activity just to counterbalance all the time I spend sitting at the computer.

    Also I have noticed I don’t fell balanced if I spend too much time doing things at the computer. I must do something physical to stay sane. Household chores work really well.

    Off to vacuum! ;-)

  12. Lisa Johnson September 21, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    Satu, vacuuming isn’t bad … it’s definitely good to get up and get moving.

  13. Health Votes September 26, 2010 at 4:00 am #

    You are write about the cardio part, exercising and really sweating it out clears the brain and provides fresh ideas to enter the mind, that way creative new post ideas hits the brains. Thanks for providing the exercise for the neck and shoulder pain, i think using the laptop has created this problem of “pulling towards the screen” will try the exercise for sure.

  14. Lisa Johnson September 26, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    Hi HV,

    I would definitely say the forward head thing has been happening ever since someone put a screen on a desk … but I think the laptop has made it worse because we’re not remotely sitting properly. (she said as she slouched in the chaise with her laptop on her lap). Glad you liked the stretches though. Thanks for finding my blog.


  15. AlexandraFunFit September 28, 2010 at 7:23 pm #

    Great tips. I hope lots of people read this. My two favorites? Stop eating crap and do your extension work, especially back extension.

  16. Lisa Johnson September 28, 2010 at 10:28 pm #

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. The extension work is so important for bloggers! We’re always bent forward. (she said slouched on the couch …)


  17. Lisa October 2, 2010 at 11:33 am #

    Thanks for including “non workout” type tips. I really need to sit up straight and stretch out my wrists!!

  18. Lisa Johnson October 2, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

    Yup, we need a little bit of everything to stay healthy. Not just cardio! L–

  19. VoteAudrey October 12, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    Just what I needed to read!

  20. [email protected] December 16, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

    Lisa, I’m loving this article. And thank you for hitting on the “Stop eating crap” point.

  21. Lisa Johnson December 16, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    it can be a problem … you can the Oscar the Grouch syndrome and just start eating a lot of crap! L–

  22. Head Coach January 2, 2011 at 5:24 am #

    In my experience helping IT and call center professionals with back problems the fastest way to rehabilitate their backs was with a weight bearing exercise such as squats or pin-pull deadlifts that progressed to full deadlifts. If weights were not available I’d have them do farmers walks carrying two jugs of water of equal weight for 20 second intervals followed by 20 seconds of rest. As they became more advanced I’d have them use stairs.

    The other thing was to have them use a posture chair. These days ergonomic chairs are doing more harm than good since the muscles of the back tend to atrophy due to the chair bearing most of the load.

  23. Lisa Johnson January 2, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    Head coach, very interesting … I am a Pilates instructor and we’re all about bad backs so I go a whole different way, but it’s good to hear other professionals talk about results that worked for their clients. Thanks for adding it :-)

  24. Jemaima Robles March 2, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    thanks for this post! At least now I know where to start. :) Though I can’t promise I won’t eat crap. Maybe I’ll gradually do that. :D

  25. Lisa Johnson March 8, 2014 at 9:17 am #

    LOL, good luck Jemaima :-)

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