I know today isn't my typical posting day, but as I rambled on in my head forming this post, it occurred to me that perhaps I ought to just type it down and get it out of there, to make room for other information.

I want to comment on the importance of keeping physically fit as a writer.  I know there have been countless papers, articles, etc. commenting on this, but I want to say my piece about it.  There is a special symbiotic relationship between our brain and body.  As anyone can tell you, physical fitness is important for health reasons, but I think it is downplayed on the importance fitness has for writers or other creative professionals, that often find themselves bound in one spot for hours at a time.

It is always suggested that if you find yourself drawing a blank on what to write next, take a walk, run, or garden, just do something else.  But that got me thinking, and paying attention to the way my mind works when I exercise-or more specifically for myself-lift weights.  I began to notice that when my body begins to move, not only am I writing something in my head or quietly mumbling it under my breath, but the words start to overflow.  What seemed a roadblock only moments before, is smashed down and the stream of words pours out of my psyche.  I have little knowledge of psychology or physiology, but I think that this is an important phenomenon for anyone, and it makes me wonder, at what point is the mind-body relationship strong enough to be able to tap into this resource?  Is there a special connection to the level of physical fitness?

I believe there is a very strong connection between your level of fitness and the clarity of your thoughts.  Recently I have lost a great deal of weight due to an increased focus on fitness and healthier eating.  And I haven't changed my habits all that much; I just began to listen to the needs of my body, not what others said I should do.  I found that gradually overtime my thoughts became clearer, as my body grew stronger.  I focused on muscle mass building and toning, and minimal cardio (I've accepted the fact that I'm not built for speed, but rather endurance and strength).  During my workouts I would force myself to stop thinking and focus on the task at hand, and as a result, after the workout the ideas would start coming to me.  Sentences that I couldn't manage to piece together only an hour before, would begin to write themselves, and then this began to happen even during menial tasks.  In fact, before I started typing this, I was sweeping the floor.

I have noticed the increase in my clarity and frequency of meaningful thought since I have lost the weight and become more fit.  I even began to understand that if I am hungry or thirsty, my writing and thought processes suffer drastically.  Thinking back, I realized how cloudy my thoughts were when I had the excess weight and treated my body like a trash can, filling it full of junk food day after day.  And because I felt so sluggish all day, my sleep quality suffered.  Even my mood suffered, I was constantly down-in-the-dumps and couldn't process my emotions or thoughts.  Now, I rarely eat junk food, in fact the few times I've tried to, I've felt fairly ill afterwards.  There are many days that I still feel lazy, because I tend to be a procrastinator at times, then I remind myself of this lesson that I have learned and think to myself is it really worth it?  Can I afford to skip my workout today?  The answer is always no.  If I want a fit mind, I need a fit body.  That is more than enough incentive for me to stay fit.  I treasure my mind and intelligence, and the fitness of my mind relies heavily on the fitness of my body.  And after years of being upset that I wasn't the "ideal" size or shape, this way of thinking gave me a different way to look at fitness.  I now see it as more of an investment rather than a goal.  Also, the energy I save by not obsessing over how I look, is energy that I can put into my writing or other pursuits.  I now feel more at peace with myself; I still have my down in the dump, frumpy days, but then I go for a walk or read something that I've written, to remind myself that as long as I am healthy-mind and body-that's what is important, not what some "expert" feels I should look like.

Now, I'm not suggesting that anyone start up a crazy diet or exercise routine, I am simply suggesting that you make an easy change over time.  Even if it's making a commitment to walk once a day for 20 minutes, or eat a salad.  There are literally hundreds of things that you can do to start tapping into the one resource that is readily available to us all-our bodies.  Personally I hate going to the gym, I find them very uncomfortable, but I made a small investment in some small weights to have at home and I haven't looked back.  I've even gotten back on my bicycle after many years of ignoring it, and am eager to do chores around the house.  It all helps, no matter what the exercise or activity is, just get up and move.

I guess the best way I can explain this is by referring to my desktop computer.  I have two dogs, both who shed a ridiculous amount this time of year.  The fans in my computer suck up the fur and dust, and the computer begins to slow down.  It heats up, the processing takes longer and it soon stops working all together.  I take it apart, remove the dust and fur-clean it up nicely-put it back together and it works like new again.  I guess I am saying that we all need to get up and shake the dust off on a regular basis, before our processing stops all together.

And not to sound overly cheesy or nerdy, but one of my favourite anime series Soul Eater quotes it best: "A sound soul dwells within a sound mind, and a sound body."  I think that sums it up rather nicely.

I just wanted to share this tiny piece of enlightenment with you.  It has changed the way I think about fitness and eating healthy, and has helped me become a better writer.  I hope it'll give you a different perspective as well.

© 2013 S. Stevens