Hey everyone! Our next blog in the “Ask the Pro” segment is happening…now! Licensed psychologist and wellness coach Angela Grace is here to talk about how to keep a writer’s brain healthy.
Dear Angela Grace:
Ok, I get it. One part of keeping a healthy brain is to do physical exercise. But, I read, listen and research article after article about exercise and everyday there’s a new study out: I need 60 minutes of aerobic exercise every week. No. I need 150 minutes of strenuous exercise. No. No. One minute of vigorous exercise is the same as 45 minutes of moderate exercise. No, wait … It doesn’t really matter what I do because my metabolic set point is established, so I’m going to be at my present weight or higher for the rest of my life. No, the answer is endurance training. No, it’s interval training, that’s what I need. Because, what everyone needs is “clean blood” … whatever the heck that is. ENOUGH. Angela Grace, you are a Psychologist and Wellness Coach, just tell me what to do. Please, give me a simple, straightforward answer that makes sense and is achievable. How do I keep my Writer’s Brain healthy?
Fat, Flabby and Frustrated in Climax, Michigan
You are right. Health information from experts, scientists and researchers changes daily. We are constantly inundated with new medical “facts” and somehow we are expected to understand them and sort out truth from fiction. It’s overwhelming and can be maddening. So, I suggest the following to help you maintain your healthy brain:
First, Practical and Useful Resource. There is a federal governmental agency dedicated to sorting through health and activity research and creating specific guidelines for exercise. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (health.gov/paguidelines), offers the following guidelines for adults:
- Five hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity OR
- 5 hours per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity AND
- 2 – 4 times per week of muscle-strengthening activities such as lifting weights
- More exercise is better.
Exercise is an integral part of developing or keeping a creative healthy mind. Most of the researchers studying Dementia, Alzheimer’s and other Neurocognitive Disorders, recommend vigorous daily exercise as a means to possibly prevent the onset of these serious incurable brain diseases.
Second, Mindset. Create a mindset to exercise for an hour each day. Then visualize yourself doing it. Commit to exercising. Your intensity level of exercise needs to makes you breathe hard and sweat. Blood needs to rush through your brain and body for an hour. Accomplish your exercise time commitment however you wish. Some writers do an hour first thing in the morning to just get it over with. Others take a brisk walk for 20 minutes after breakfast, bike ride for 20 minutes after lunch and finish with swimming for 20 minutes in the evening. Taking a few minutes away from your project to exercise may be just what is needed for focus and creativity. If you are unsure where to start, brainstorm activities that you have enjoyed in the past and begin there.
Include exercise in your work ethic. In the same way that you schedule writing time, research your story line, learn new writing computer programs, reach your daily word count and attend writer’s conferences, make exercise equally important.
Third, Be Your Own Wellness Coach. It’s important to have a plan for when, where, and how you will exercise. It can’t be left to chance; it needs to be part of your routine and scheduled.
Ask and answer these questions:
- What stands in my way of exercising for an hour each day?
- What clutter do I need to eliminate in order to set aside an hour a day for exercise?
- What time of day is best to exercise so that I can be consistent on a daily basis?
- What physical activities do I enjoy that will keep me motivated to continue moving?
So F-Cubed, keeping your Writer’s Brain healthy through exercise is about moving your body vigorously, breathing hard and sweating for an hour a day. How you achieve this in Climax, is up to you.