Despite all indications to the contrary…

I’ve learned some things over the years.

1. Parents and children both get smarter as they age.

2. The more dollars you exchange for euros on your vacation, the less likely you are to need them.

3. Writing a book and typing a book are entirely different beasts.

And 4, I’ve learned I’m getting old. I’m not complaining exactly, but I can’t keep calling myself middle-aged unless I really am planning to live to be 114. I like the age I am, and I certainly can’t complain. I agree with Ellen Degeneres.

Ellen meme

Or maybe aging is like a roller coaster. It’s so much effort climbing, with lots of scary groaning and creaking. But then you get to the top and see that fantastic view of your productive kids living in their own houses, and you can’t help but grin and squeal as you race down the other side.

It’s thrilling.

But whether we’re climbing up one side or racing down the other, writers — and other sedentary types — can keep aging at bay by eating right and exercising. But it’s difficult when you spend so much time at a computer.

Despite all indications to the contrary, being a writer is physically very challenging.

We look nice and comfy, don’t we, staring out the window (we’re plotting … really!) with our feet on our desk. Or lounging on the patio under a dappled sky with a pooch curled at our feet. Or in a wingback pulled close to the fireplace.

But those legs crossed on our desk cut off circulation. And that patio chair forces our neck in a weird position. And there is simply not enough light next to that wingback.

And there are so many other challenges. We type for excruciating stretches at a time. We sit or stand at our desks for long periods. We get in The Zone and forget to eat. We get fantastic ideas that make us pop up out of a sound sleep and stay awake the rest of the night to capture them.

And the thing I did recently … sat from about 5:30 in the morning until about 4:30 in the afternoon reading my manuscript straight through.

That’s part of my process. After I get my first draft written, revised, and polished — before anyone else sees it — I sit with it and read it in as few sessions as I can. I can find all kinds of continuity and logic problems when it’s all right in my face like that.

But that’s tough on the ‘ol bod. Your keister falls asleep. Your right pointer finger gets stiff from hitting that down arrow as you read. Your eyes get blurry. Your neck kinks.

I try to force myself to stop every couple of hours and stretch or at least move around, but NOT to graze on cookies or chips or cheese or ice cream.

In the Denver Post on Saturday was an article about Feldenkrais, an alternative therapy for pain and mobility issues. I’d never heard of it but it’s basically a brain workout that can relieve years of discomfort through slow and subtle movements that retrain how you move, whether it’s walking or sitting or typing. The author of the article (which I can’t share) describes her hip and neck pain and then the treatment, performed flat on her back making tiny eye movements. It makes no sense, but after the session, despite no hip or neck stretches, her hip and neck had more mobility. The theory is that eye movement is vital in “coordinating the body’s musculature, particularly in how the neck muscles contract — one of Feldenkrais’ many counterintuitive approaches to learning to move differently.”

Here’s a different first person account of using this therapy.

I won’t pretend to understand it, but I thought it was a fascinating and unusual way for folks to heal and care for themselves.

Another thing I’ve learned over the years is to keep an open mind, and that I’m all about the fascinating and unusual!

So, what fun things do you do to remain healthy and mobile? What do you do during your breaks from desk and computer? What healthy foods do you keep around to nosh on? Which are your favorite guilty pleasure foods to indulge in when you don’t want to take time for an actual meal?

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Author: Becky Clark

I write mysteries with humor and spend my free time attempting to rid my clothing of dog hair. My book FICTION CAN BE MURDER, the first in the Mystery Writer's Mystery series, was out April 2018, and the next one, FOUL PLAY ON WORDS will be out April 2019.

18 thoughts on “Despite all indications to the contrary…”

  1. Well, besides chasing children, pushing shopping carts, and lugging laundry in and out of the garage. I walk — no running, no jogging, just walking. I have mentioned before that I combine walking with books by listening to audio books, and it works out very well for me. I am motivated to walk because I get involved in the books and wan to find out what happens next.

    In addition to walking, I also do yoga and Pilates reformer glasses three times per week. These activities are all about positioning, stretching, balance and good posture. These activities (that rarely make one sweat and allow one to purchase lots of cute leggings and tank-tops) are really life-savers. Good posture(and the good body alignment that goes with it can really improve a person’s over-all health and well-being. All that sitting can be less of a strain on your body if you have good posture.

    Head level,chin up, shoulders down, chest up, stomach in, back straight, legs uncrossed — sounds like a 1950s etiquette class, but it really makes a difference. They might have had the right idea all along.

    Pilates reformer classes are on the expensive side, but basic yoga is readily available at a reasonable price at community centers, neighborhood gyms, and local YMCA facilities. If you try it you will find that it is not about twisting yourself into a pretzel, (that photo on the Feldenkrais link looked pretty much like a pretzel , too), but it is about positioning, balance, and aligning your body the way your muscles and bones should be instead of how we abuse them in chairs. I do not recommend starting with yoga on You-Tube because there is no one there to show you how YOUR body needs to be positioned. After you have lots of practice, it’s fine to augment instruction, but nothing matches having a PERSON look at your posture.

    So, in conclusion, sit up tall, hold up that chin, straighten your back, stand erect, buy some cute leggings with flowers, sparkles, and swirls and GET THYSELF TO YOGA.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You would make a great martial artist, 3! Good posture is so important. Sadly, though, a major illness can knock down an exercise routine, and then the goal becomes making it through one day at a time, with maybe a walk around the neighborhood lake.

      Becky, you can never have too many euros!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely true. It’s been 20 months since my surgery and I still can’t do some easy stuff I used to do without even thinking. So annoying. Maybe I’ll go on a cruise to forget my travails …. 😉

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  2. Before I got a puppy, I got up every morning at 0430 for at least 30 minutes of yoga and went for walk at noon. Now I get up at 0430 and chase a puppy for 90 minutes around the house encouraging him to go outside when nature calls and cleaning up the messes that he creates while I was cleaning up the messes he had created, then I leave the office at noon to take him on walk or garden in the backyard (I garden; he attacks me). SO looking forward to this puppy becoming housebroken and get past teething. Pretty sure I’m not wearing off pizza and cookies as fast as I’m eating them.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love both yoga and Pilates (reformer classes are my fave!), but until the teen starts driving herself, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. But, it’s a season and it will change soon enough. My guilty pleasure is plain, ruffled potato chips and cottage cheese for dip. It makes me feeling like I’m having a healthy-ish snack, and it gets a bit of protein into me, as I’m still a terrible vegetarian who lives on carbs. I’m actually not too much of a snacker, but a guiltier pleasure? Flavor Blasted Cheddar Goldfish. (YUM!)

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    1. I just made audible yummy noises, Pamela. Potato chips and goldfish crackers are my nemeses. And, you’re right, chips dipped in cottage cheese is sublime and borders on healthy. (Borders don’t have to be THAT close, do they?) I could eat an entire family-sized bag of chips, which is why I can’t have them in the house. Ever.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m approaching middle age and really need to get healthier habits. I didn’t use to be so bad, but now that I dedicate so much time to my writing as well as my full-time job, if I have to choose between my my leisure time and exercise time, well…guess which always wins?

    I’m not too bad about snacking (unless I’m HEAVILY writing, then I need the sustenance), but my portion sizes are out of control. I’m still really new to writing, so I’m hoping once I’ve figured out what works for me and create a regular routine, I’ll be able to fit things like meal prep and regular exercise back into my life. As it is, the only exercise I get is tons of walking since I commute to my job downtown and almost never sit down while I’m teaching. One of these days, I plan on taking up boxing.

    One of these days…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh, boxing sounds like fun! I’ll tell you what … meal prep has saved my life. I make the weekly menu and the grocery list. I list all the produce and meat from the bottom to the top of the page, then everything else from the top to the bottom. Hubs and I go shopping together every week where I tear the list in half — I do the top, he does the bottom. Then we come home and make lunches for the week — whether it’s a big pot of soup, or salad-in-a-jar, or casserole — and we (read “hubs”) chop up veggies for the week. If I had more wherewithal I’d snack on those, like he does, but mostly I snack on less than quality food. Of course, if I’m feeling particularly fragile, I know not to buy those chips or cookies or ice cream in the first place!

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