Easy Physical Fitness for Authors

authors get fat diet-398613_960_720Yeah, that’s right. I’m an author. That means I’m cerebral. I work out with my brain, not my body, which means that my Nordic Track machine is used to hang laundry. It works quite nicely in that capacity. And now, to make matters worse, here in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway, it’s the height of Winter and that means even less moving about outside. All you folks south of the Equator – it’s too hot for you to be out and about too, right? And heap our New Year’s Resolutions on top of all this guilt – what can we do to stay in shape?

Our Laurie Boris tried to get us to start some good habits like stretching and some strange, new-fangled ergonomic stuff. All that’s fine and dandy, but I can’t really see someone like me actually making the effort to do any of it. So, in the true spirit of entrepreneurial opportunism, I’ve developed an exercise program tailored specifically for authors (and anyone who spends extended hours at a computer). Because what good is a program you won’t actually use?

That’s right, I’ve taken activities in which you participate every day and turned them into exercises! How can you go wrong? Well, duh, you can’t.

Do those coffee crunches!

Let’s start with your morning routine. You grab a cup of coffee or tea or some other beverage, right? Well, don’t pour it all at once. Pour a little, repeat. Pour a little more, repeat. Feel the burn? Awesome, right? And best of all, you can do this all day long, no matter what you’re drinking – you’ve got to pour it. Switch to your left hand so you don’t develop lopsided muscles. Then repeat!


Time to sit in your chair. But wait! Don’t sit all the way down – are you crazy? You can use this as an opportunity to work those legs! Sit a little…hold it. Sit a little more…hold it. Feel the burn? No? Then hold it a little longer. Rise, repeat. In no time, you’ll have thighs like a hockey player. That’s worth it, right?

Before you know it, it’s lunch time! That leftover lasagna is no good to you cold – so heat that bad boy up in your microwave. How can that help you get into shape? Well, you have to press a bunch of buttons, don’t you? Press the first number, then pull your hand back and press the next one. Repeat. Again. Repeat. Feel the burn? Switch fingers, switch hands…try it behind your back. No matter, you’re workin’ those finger muscles! With all the typing you do, that can only help, right? Of course! Imagine how much faster you’ll be able to finish that manuscript with really strong fingers flying across the keyboard! Brilliant, isn’t it?

Be creative. I bet there are dozens of things you do every day that you can work into your own exercise regimen.

Judge and Author K.S. BrooksHow about when you read a really poorly written book preview or a maddening book description/sales blurb? Or when you see your KDP royalty report? When you’ve got clumps of your own hair clamped down in your fists – don’t stop there. Flap your arms like a chicken and work those triceps!

There are plenty of ways to take advantage of the things we do every day to get us nice and svelt in preparation for our Academy Award for best screenplay. I’m not going to give away all my secrets here today. I need some to make sure the book and companion DVD sell.

[This product is not endorsed by Indies Unlimited. Always make sure to confer with a physican before beginning any sort of exercise program. – The Editors]

Author: K.S. Brooks

K.S. Brooks is an award-winning novelist, photographer, and photo-journalist, author of over 30 titles, and executive director and administrator of Indies Unlimited. Brooks is currently a photo-journalist and chief copy editor for two NE Washington newspapers.  She teaches self-publishing and writing topics for the Community Colleges of Spokane, and served on the Indie Author Day advisory board. For more about K.S. Brooks, visit her website and her Amazon author page.

11 thoughts on “Easy Physical Fitness for Authors”

  1. Excellent ideas! How about something for your scrolling finger? Maybe scroll just a tiny bit, hold, scroll more? Change fingers? Change hands? And how about working your legs by rolling your chair backward and forward? I can see this easily becoming a new dynasty in fitness videos. Jane Fonda, watch out!

  2. The time between sentences: you’ve just composed one awesome sentence in your WIP, and you can feel the next bubbling up, ready to go. That’s the time to take a couple of seconds to do a quick drumbeat on the desk with your hands – you can write and sweat! #WorksForMe

  3. I utilize exercises from my gymnastics and martial arts backgrounds, as well as from my current weight-lifting regimen, to stay as physically fit as possible. I flap my hands around; bend the fingers back a little; flex my wrists; rotate my shoulders and arms; and move my head around a little. I also look away from computer (or whatever I’m reading periodically) and blink several times to give my eyes a rest. I splash cool water on my face a few times a day, massage my eyes and then apply lotion to my facial skin.

    As for relief of my legs – what I often call “office chair butt” – I often stand and rotate my torso; do deep-knee bends; stand straight and bend over as far as possible to stretch the backs of my thighs (hamstrings); and manually massage the same areas. I know some people can’t do deep-knee bends or bend over forward too far, but you can hold onto a chair, desk, table, railing, file cabinet, or wall. It’s imperative to stand periodically if you have a desk job; you absolutely have to relieve the stress on your legs, buttocks and lower back. Believe me when I say it can have catastrophic health consequences. Prolonged sitting (or standing for that matter) is simply bad for you because the blood supply can be compromised.

    When I critically injured my right arm in June of 2013, I ended up in Parkland Hospital in Dallas, sharing a room with a man who had lost his lower left leg due to prolonged sitting. He had taken a brief vacation to gamble in Shreveport, Louisiana. After sitting at a table for so long, he felt his left leg starting to go numb and barely made it back to his room under his own power. The next day, he told me, he could barely stand on his own; he felt his right leg going numb also. He called his wife back here in Texas because he didn’t feel he could drive back home. She called his brother, and he drove them both to Shreveport to pick up the man. They made it back to their home just south of Dallas. By the time the man visited a cardiovascular specialist, his left leg had gone completely numb and was turning black. When he got to Parkland, they couldn’t save it; doctors had to amputate it beneath the knee. But they were able to save his right leg.

    He blamed himself because he said he was a little heavier than he should be, plus he sat too damn long at that gambling table. But he had the best attitude. He told every nurse who came in to help him that he was now their biggest fan.

    I’m not insinuating that every prospective writer faces a lifetime relegated to a wheelchair or hobbling around on a prosthesis. But a physically fit writer is a more creative writer. People often underestimate (sometimes negate) the simple fact that our physical health is tied closely to our emotional and psychological well-being.

  4. Trying all these activities has worn me out. In fact I feel so tired I need to go and have a nap to recover. That isn’t going to help my productivity. But hey, my muscles still feel the burn. So maybe I’ll wait until that has subsided (it’ll probably take at least a week) before I try that exercise routine again. I don’t want to overdo things so much I’m crippled and unable to write!
    But thanks for the guidance, and Happy New Year! 🙂

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