A few days ago, I caught Terry Gross interviewing evolutionary biologist Daniel Lieberman on his new book, the Story of the Human Body. It was absolutely fascinating, one of the best interviews I’ve listened to, and I listen to a lot of interviews. Among the many points he raised is that humans are not made for sitting. Sitting is bad for us; it weakens our back muscles, raises our blood pressure, our risk of diabetes and propels us to an early grave (albeit in a comfortable, seated position). This is, of course, bad news for most of us, but for writers in particular. So I was glad when my client Beth Hahn sent along this article from Ploughshares, “Exercising Your Craft: 3 Writers Who Get Physical.” Beth is a novelist and a yoga instructor, and she speaks quite convincingly about the relationship between yoga and writing.
What do you do when your “position” is not “hunched over your desk”?
Do you find any particular form of exercise useful to your writing process?
I’m not a writer per se, but I do find physical activity helpful in my own work. I also practice yoga, chase my kids, bike, and vacuum*, but my favorite form of exercise is probably kickboxing (not be confused with any legitimate martial art) but rather an activity in which participants throw punches and kicks at our own red-faced reflections, and pose little threat to anyone but ourselves.
It is not all meditative, but instead cathartic.