Monday, March 21, 2011

The Exercise Problem

Thumbing through the newest Quilter's Home quilting magazine last night, I came across a survey of readers that asked about their favorite form of exercise. Twenty-one percent preferred quilting to any other "exercise." Seven percent chose "wine glass lifting" and seven percent said "coach potatoing." Only "running/walking" came in higher than "quilting." The writers among you can probably guess why: Creative people get new ideas when walking.

I know exercise is good for people in general and writers in particular (sends oxygen to the brain, builds stamina for long writing sessions, strengthens arm muscles so you can type longer, helps you live longer so you get more written), but I still resent the time it takes away from my writing.

It occurred to me that if quilting counts as exercise if one moves the ironing board to another room or rearranges heavy stacks of fabrics, we can start applying minutes spent on our writing-associated activities to our daily exercise goals. For example, all of the following burn calories and some build muscle as well:
  • pacing
  • fidgeting
  • drumming fingers on the desk
  • moving reference books from one spot to another
  • shouting and pummeling the air when a story gets rejected
  • shouting and pummeling the air when a story gets accepted
  • getting out the Oxford English Dictionary to look up a word
  • opening office supplies multiply and tightly packaged in thick plastic
  • ripping open ink cartridge packages
  • moving the printer to reach the secret area to clear out jams
  • getting down books that live on the top shelf of a bookcase and later putting them away
  • loading cartons of printer paper into the car and then carrying them from the car to the office
  • procrastinating by ironing, carrying out the trash, unloading the dishwasher, etc.
What have I missed? Are there things you do while writing that should count as exercise?

See you again on April 4, when I blog at Novel Spaces again.

—Shauna Roberts


G said...

Not sure whether this post was written tongue planted firmly in cheek, but....

How 'bout the time spent clicking the button on your mouse when you're playing a game like "Spider Solitaire" or "Space Pinball"?

I'm sure those one or two calories while exercising that finger helps in the long run, eh?

Charles Gramlich said...

I swear at first I read it as "quiTTing magazine" and I thought now that is the zine for me.

Shauna Roberts said...

G, I've read that fidgety people on average weigh less than nonfidgety people because of the calories they burn fidgeting. I don't play computer games, but I would guess clicking the mouse burns as many calories as some kinds of fidgeting. (And yes, it was tongue in cheek, a way to rationalize being at the computer instead of doing some unpleasant sweaty thing.)

CHARLES, LOL. In that vein, the magazine for me would be called Dithering Away Time with Nothing to Show for It.

Terri-Lynne said...

Spinning on your spinny-chair while thinking! That counts, right?

Jewel Amethyst said...

Don't know about you, but since I haven't lifted a physical dictionary or encyclopedia in years (internet dictionary baby), I've just lost out on one form of exercise.

But pounding the printer when there is a paper jam could more than make up for that.

Shauna Roberts said...

TERRI-LYNNE, sure that counts. That's a good exercise for the waist, I suspect.

JEWEL, I get exercise from paper jams too. One of my printers requires, no matter where the jam is, that I pull the heavy printer away from the wall to open two doors in the back while balancing the weight that's off the edge of the table on my hip. Then I have to push it back into place.