Extend Your Writing Capabilities: Stretching Your Body

Extend Your Writing Capabilities: Stretching Your Body

by Buffy Greentree


If you want your mind to work, to be fully creative and concentrated, then you really need to exercise. What? Exercise? There is a reason you choose to sit behind a computer all day. Ah yes, but sadly the brain does not work so well without exercise. It doesn't have to be the hard, sweaty kind; walking is great. 'Why? WHY?' You cry to the heavens. Well, let me tell you why.

First: Being able to sit down and write works best when all your physical needs have already been attended to. If you have done some light exercise first, and blood is happily flowing to all your muscles, they feel stretched and nicely warm, and this will help you slip into the flow much more easily.

Second: Exercise gives your mind time to process. Watching your thoughts at every moment is counterproductive. Go for a walk and let your conscious and subconscious conspire, half way through the walk, or when you return, you will find a little envelope slipped under the door and when you open it, fairy dust will spill out and fill the air.

Third: Your brain benefits from physical exercise. Research shows that getting your blood pumping also pumps extra oxygen-rich blood through the brain. Makes sense, really. This flush of fresh blood does amazing things to your ability to concentrate and think.

Fourth: If you want to write as a lifestyle, then sitting down for the majority of your life needs some sort of compensation by making the most of the time you aren't sitting down.

Fifth: There are things you need that you can't get inside. You need to get your vitamin D activated by sunlight. Sunlight on your retinas helps keep your circadian rhythm up to date, and so also helps you stay awake when you should. Sunlight also reduces depression, and refreshes the senses. So you could go outside and just lie in the grass for all this to happen, but why not do a bit of walking first? Or roll around while you are down there?

As stated before, it really doesn't have to be hard. Walking is good. I like to break a light sweat, but not go into anaerobic exercise. You should still be able to hold a conversation, with just slight puffs. This means your blood is pumping at an optimal level and your body hasn't started creating excess waste product such as lactic acid, which can add extra stress to your body to get rid of. Remember, we are all about stress minimisation. Though one or two hard sessions a week is fine if you are so inclined.


Along the same lines as exercise, if you are sitting all day, you really should spend some time stretching, because sitting is not a natural position to be in constantly. After years of this, your hip flexors start to shorten, which in turn can give you lower back problems. Similarly, your glutes like to be gently stretched and used. Your neck and shoulders get tight from the tension you are placing in them, and your wrists and forearms are in danger from the strange repetitive motions you are making them do.

So when you suddenly feel as though inspiration has done a bunk, shrug your shoulders and stretch for five minutes. (Please note that because this is a short article, I've only gone into some stretches here. If you want a fully detailed account, please go to my book 'The Five Day Writer's Retreat' on Amazon).

Warm up: As you haven't been moving, the muscles won't be particularly warm, so it's not a great time to just demand they stretch out, and can in fact do damage. For each muscle group take a moment to warm them up. I recommend starting at the top of your head and work down. It's a nice organised method.

Back: With your feet about hip width apart and your knees slightly bent, keep your hips facing forwards, and try to twist around to one side and then to the other, in a smooth flowing motion. Each time try to get a little further around. Do ten complete twists to warm up through the back and core. Step your feet together and bend your knees. With your right hand, grab the left side of your left knee, and with your left hand grab the right side of your right knee, so your arms are crossed in front of you, with a firm hold on your legs. Keeping that hold, tuck your head in and push up through your back so your shoulders and upper back stretch out. After ten seconds take off the pressure. Then focus on just one side, hold on with your right hand and try to push up on your right. You should feel the stretch running down the length of your right side. Decrease the pressure, and try pushing up through your left side.

Hip flexor: stand with your feet together and then take one large step forward with your left leg. Keep your right leg as straight as you can, and bend your left leg forward until the knee is just over the toes. Try and push down into the stretch, which you should feel down the front of your right hip. Hold for 12 seconds, and then step back and repeat on the other side.

Glutes and hip flexors: this is best performed on a mat as you need to be on the ground. Kneel on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Bring your right knee up to your right hand, and your right foot across to your left hand. Slowly slide your left leg straight out behind you. You should feel the stretch in your right glute (aka your butt), and if you keep your chest up straight, also in your left hip flexor. This is similar to the yoga pose the 'half pigeon'. Hold this for about 20 seconds, then swap over.

If you do that every few hours, your body will thank you every day, and your spritely older self will thank you too!

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New Unique Article!

Title: Extend Your Writing Capabilities: Stretching Your Body
Author: Buffy Greentree
Email: b.greentr@gmail.com
Keywords: Motivation, increase writing, writing, developing writing, writing inspiration, self-development, five day writer's retreat, daily routine, stretching, exercise
Word Count: 1028
Category: Motivation

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