As first a reader and then a writer I spend a lot of time sitting. Many writers have adopted a standing desk, or even a treadmill desk. Readers can do the same. But I think that anything done too long isn't as beneficial as movement. I get up from my desk or chair several times in an hour. I'm more efficient if I've done a quick walk about, whether it's to throw in a load of laundry or put a pot of soup on to simmer so that my family won't starve because of my workload. This is especially handy around deadlines!
There's a dearth of information on health and fitness and since we are all readers, most of us have read the medical and scientific studies--many of them contradicting. What's a story-lover to do?
I've learned that for me, as much as I love chocolate, it's a no-go if I'm going to keep my energy up. I treat myself to really good chocolate (or okay, a chocolate kiss or two) when I want to, but it's no longer a major nutritional category for me for one simple reason: I feel incredibly tired after the rush of the chocolate has abated. This invariably happens when I have two hours left in my writing day and energy is prone to drop, anyhow. Instead I have an apple and a cup of tea. I can hear the no-caffeine readers gasping. But a cup of tea along with either fruit or veggies or a handful of nuts carries me further along my story without feeling like I need to put my head down and take a quick nap.
If and when I exercise, no matter what it is, I feel enormously better. Plus, more story ideas and characters show up on my mental dry-erase board (I really wanted to write "chalkboard" but that would really date me). The simple act of walking releases the right kind of brain waves that help creativity.
The other fitness that I feel is probably most important is mental and spiritual. Whatever your beliefs try to spend a bit of time alone with them each day. Journal, sketch, sit in nature. My favorite is to knit outside. The air is finally cool enough to do this in the Northeastern U.S. and I relish it. It's hard not to feel guilty for sitting and seemingly doing "nothing" productive in terms of story and writing, but indeed I'm contributing to my story arsenal. So many ideas have shown up in the middle of a row of a lace shawl.
I'm not perfect and I struggle with taking care of myself, finding the time, making the effort when I feel like the demands of this writing life and life in general are too many and too heavy to take "frivolous" time to do something for me. My heroines struggle and juggle with this, too. It's what makes all of us, fictional or real, human.
What do you do to stay healthy, be it physical, mental or spiritual?