Sitting Yourself To Death

Is it just me, or have you noticed an increasing number of blog posts about the dangers of prolonged sitting? The warnings would be easier to ignore if I wasn’t guilty of getting so caught up in my writing that sometimes I don’t even notice how long I’ve been sitting until I lose daylight. Even then, I’ve been known to carry on and type by the light of the laptop. When I finally cave in and stand up, my back cracks, my hips creak and I pinch a nerve in my neck reaching for the light switch.

That’s not good.

I need to be more mindful of my health if I want to keep it, so I’m making some changes.

Standing_Work_StationOne of the things I’m doing to get moving is to write standing up. Lucky for me, we have a bar between our kitchen and dining room that’s at the perfect height. It’s a remarkably comfortable writing position.

I’m also spending more time at our local gym, though I must say, motivating myself to get there is an issue, and I’ve learned that dressing for the gym doesn’t necessarily equate to making it to the gym.

Molly_and_Monty

Molly and Monti

Something that doesn’t require much motivation, is taking long walks. We have a number of great trails on the island and Molly is only too happy to accompany me as long as the rain isn’t torrential and the winds aren’t howling (okay, so it’s me who doesn’t like being out in the rain and wind. Those are gym days…sometimes).

A-walk-in-the-parkWalking has the added bonus of loosening stubborn writing knots. On today’s walk, for example, I was mulling over of a new story idea I’ve been teasing out. I’d been having trouble with the motivation for one of the characters. Their motivation is pivotal and without it, the story falls apart. By the time I got back to the trail head, the motivation I’d been seeking, along with a cascading shower of supporting ideas, dropped out of the ether.

The moment I got home, I drafted a synopsis for a completely new book idea. Of course, I was sitting on my butt while I typed it, but at least I’d been out for a walk.

How do you get your butt out of your chair?

When you’re back from your walk, reward your good behaviour by curling up with a book. You can get Awakening with one click right here.
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About JP McLean

Author of The Gift Legacy, a contemporary thriller with a twist of fantasy that will leave you believing the impossible and wary of the night sky…
This entry was posted in On Writing, Writers' Health and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Sitting Yourself To Death

  1. Mike Grant says:

    Walking is my exercise although I suppose there are other things I could be doing. I like walking because I find any little corner I have written myself into is solved by the end of the block.

    Like

  2. Wendy Keeler says:

    Hi Jo-Anne

    Unrelated to sitting or walking – is Monty a new family member?

    Like

  3. denmaniacs4 says:

    Jo-Anne, it helps to have a short attention span. I am blessed with one. I get up often and wander around, aimless but vaguely active.

    Like

  4. B.G. Bowers says:

    You live in a beautiful part of the world, JP. That forest walk, one, would get me up!

    Like

  5. sknicholls says:

    In summer, I take frequent swims in the pool. The waters lets me stretch and relax at the same time. In the winter I’m such a sloth. I get up every couple of hours and dig through the fridge or stretch out and take a nap.

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  6. I always wanted to get one of those treadmill desks for this reason. I don’t know how difficult it would be to write and walk though. I have limited coordination!

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  7. JP McLean says:

    I’ve done some reading on an elliptical stepper machine, but the print was large. Don’t think I could manage writing though. Good luck if you decide to give it a go!

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  8. HelgaB says:

    Dumbbells are another option for the upper body and you can use them while you are at the desk. Dogs though are the ultimate for exercising the lower parts because you have no choice but to take them on walks, 😊

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  9. I wonder if all those people writing blog posts about the dangers of too much sitting are sitting while they’re writing the blog posts. I tried setting up a standing desk at the kitchen island, but my body just naturally wanted to gravitate back to a chair on the verandah. I commend you, JP, for taking a stand, so to speak. I really need to walk and swim more and not just think about doing it. Thanks for the reminder!

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  10. jmcalli2000 says:

    Well, every one who ever sat down has or will die.
    Seriously, the media’s ONLY job is to sell product. Researchers’ get paid by promoting another study. Follow the money.

    Like

  11. olganm says:

    I’ve tried the standing up and keep wondering about the adaptable desks but normally end up quite tired. I exercise at home and do You Tube videos. Also try and take breaks and when I’m at home every hour or so I go up and down stairs a few times. I also love walking and try to fit it in, but yes, it’s a worry….

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  12. Diana Stevan says:

    I had to laugh when I read this. I’m also guilty of gluing myself to my seat, staring at the computer for hours on end. My husband reminds me periodically to get up and move. I’ve had a cold lately, so good excuse for not moving, huh? For how long though until the body rebels? I do like pickle ball, swimming, walking ,hiking, so I have to program it in. Your post is a nice reminder.

    Like

  13. I’m lucky enough to have 2 horses that need riding most days and a lab/lurcher x who gets very fed up watching me on the lap top. I’ve dug myself out of a plot hole many times on a walk.

    Like

  14. Inese Poga Art Gallery says:

    I don’t. I’m used to typing many pages in one sitting (tight deadlines) of sometimes very boring very complex medical texts. Everything hurts, wrists and elbows, and shoulders, and back, and eyesight suffers, that’s the price I have paid for doing my main work which is medical translations and writing. It is very tough sitting for a long time. I do take short breaks and run around the house or even take 5 minutes in the garden, but like I’m saying, my deadlines can be so tight that I have no time to eat, that excludes any walks or whatever. Walking is an excellent exercise, way better that gym since we can breath in some fresh air which is even more important than moving our body parts. Painting is mostly standing or bending the back in a wrong position and painting large canvas makes shoulders and arms hurt. I suppose, everything which requires a certain position and repeated movements results in pain and some discomfort. It seems that you are doing way better than many other people who have sitting jobs.

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    • JP McLean says:

      My back and shoulders ache just reading this, Inese. I’m glad you’ve had the strength to cope with it. The fact you can produce such beautiful art under those conditions is truly amazing. Thanks for sharing your lovely paintings, and for stopping by here.

      Like

  15. Great article on the muse and how to feed it. I’ve written a few posts on this topic… what writer hasn’t? It’s one of our mainstays and constant companions … like imagination, the need to write and good wine (especially good wine) … Your readers might enjoy my latest piece on walking to help the first of these three… http://ninamunteanu.me/2014/12/25/walking-helps-me-think-and-imagine/

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