October 26, 2014

For God’s sake – Move!

So, according to The Times this week, sitting still is killing us. Of course, being in mainstream news, it got the gist, but messed up the facts.

The article started by stating that ‘Britain’s couch potato lifestyle contributes to as many deaths as smoking and threatens to bankrupt public services’. But then, it went on to imply that this was wrapped in the whole obesity and diabetes package.

Hmm. Lets be clear on this. Sitting still for hours on end is still a problem even if you exercise regularly and are not overweight. That’s the message. The one that the Times kind of lost in the noise of ‘obesity epidemic’.

By lumping the ‘sitting still’ message with these other, non-related, issues means that people like me – who are not obese and who exercise regularly – think that the message is not for them. But I am exactly the audience that needs to hear this message. Why?

Because I am a writer. It’s my job to sit on my bum and tap at my keyboard all day. If I didn’t do this, then deadlines wouldn’t be met, invoices wouldn’t go out and no (healthy) dinner for me.

But, if I really think about it, I know this. My body tells me when it’s time to stop and move around. It usually goes like this:  It’s about 11.15am and I’ve been writing for just over a couple of hours. I’ve nearly finished the bit I wanted to get done. Nearly, but not quite. I just want to change that sentence. Or think of a better headline. Or put that phrase slightly differently. I squirm a little in my chair, knowing that coffee o’clock is here BUT I JUST WANT TO FINISH THE THING.

No, it’s no good. I give up. I get up, walk downstairs, fill the kettle and gaze out of the window. BAM. The words arrive in my brain like a gatecrasher at a dull party. Thank you words.

And if I’m really stewing over something big, like a plot hole in a story or an article idea, then movement is my friend. I go for a walk, mow the lawn, even put the washing away – no, it’s not glamorous, but it does help unstick a stuck writer!

What techniques do you use to keep going – and do you find moving around helps?


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