Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May is Physical Fitness Month

May is Physical Fitness Month

I'm not sure why May was picked for this honor. Maybe dancing around the May Pole brings physical activity to mind? Kids running out of schoolyards, released for the summer?

Are you physically fit? Can you dance around the May Pole, run around a schoolyard, keep up with an energetic kiddo? If you are, I'll bet it's in spite of your job.

There are loads of occupations that tie you to a desk, and one of them is--writer. I'll bet writers, as a whole, aren't the most fit people on the planet. In order to write, nowadays, you have to be sitting in a chair at a computer. Or perhaps curled up somewhere with a laptop or netbook or even an AlphaSmart. It doesn't work to be walking around while you write. But you CAN do exercises at your desk.

You just need to schedule mini-breaks. When I think of it, I turn on my timer for 50 minutes. I work until it goes off, then get up for at least ten minutes and do something besides sit and type.

Here are some suggestions:

You can do these without leaving your chair.
Put your palms on your lower back and lean backwards to stretch your spine backwards. Then lean forward and grab your ankles. Pull your ears as close to your shoulders as you can, to stretch your neck. Reach up as high as you can, then, holding your arms straight, reach behind you. Do some shoulder rolls, wrists and ankle circles. I like straightening my knees and holding my legs straight out for at least 20 seconds.

Look at your clock and run in place for a minute or so. Do some lunges, go pick the newspapers and/or shoes up off the floor, walk around the building or up and down some stairs, if you're lucky enough to have them.

I like to do eye rolls when my eyes get fatigued. I imagine my eye as a circle with eight points, up, down, left, right, and four points in between those. I first look up, then move clockwise around the circle, stopping for a second at each point. Then I repeat that counter-clockwise. It feels good to gently massage the bony socket around the eye, too. Also in a circle pattern. You might find sore spots that need an extra bit of massage where your eye muscles are strained.

Do a search for "desk exercises" or "chair exercises" and you'll find dozens of others that you can tailor into a routine that suits you. The worst thing you can do is sit for three hours straight! I know this because, well, you can probably figure that out.


  1. Good suggestions. I do tend to sit and type until the act of standing creates a symphony of snaps, crackles, pops, and ouches.

  2. This is a case of, I hope, do as I say, not as I do. Yeah, it can be noisy when I get up, too, LD.

  3. Kaye, I need exercise in some form or other. Otherwise I can't be creative. I walk almost every morning, weather permitting, and from spring through fall I'm quite busy gardening and mowing - quite physical work, plus cleaning pony stalls several times a week. In fact, I blogged about the importance of exercise last week.

  4. Having plants and animals to attend to makes exercise more fun, I think! Thanks for stopping by, Gloria.

  5. Great reminder, Kaye.

    The med students at my university swear by desk-bicycles, like these:

    I've been really curious to try them.

  6. How funny, Jenny. I just got rid of one. My husband's physical therapist had left hers here after his knee surgery, but he doesn't use it any more and she just came by--this afternoon!--to pick it up.

    I like my elliptical. I didn't pay a lot for it.