The hardest thing for me about the transition from laboratory scientist to medical writer was that there were still so many wonderful questions about 2′-5′ oligoadenylate synthetase I wanted to ask. Yes. I am not making things up. It was break-up level hard. The second hardest thing was going from a job where I was nearly always on my feet moving flasks and tubes around to one where I am parked at a desk all the time. I laughed the first time I saw a treadmill desk. Now, I get it.
I am not going to write about why exercise is important for your health because DUH. “Sitting is the new smoking” is a catch phrase for crying out loud. I will say that I can easily get another two hours of good writing in each day if I exercise in the morning and then again for 30 minutes at around 2:00. Free productive time! Just for exercising! I’ve listed some of the things I do to keep myself from withering away in a desk chair.
1. Pack your gym clothes! If you go to a coworking space, find a nearby park or gym you can go to. There’s nothing like hauling around your clothes to remind you to go! If you travel, every hotel has a gym. If I get into town before 8 PM, I work out at night. Otherwise, I’m up at dawn to go to the gym. It really helps keep me sharp. I also don’t come back into town all cranky from not having exercised for two days. Even better, more and more hotels have running maps so that you can go on a scenic run. For business travelers with all of eight minutes to explore the city, this can be a great way to get out and get your blood flowing. At the very least, I stretch in the evening and in the morning to try and combat having been stuck on a plane and sitting through a day-long meeting.
2. Toss the desk chair! I have a standing desk and a yoga ball for when I need to sit down. When I go to my coworking space and use the chairs there, I can really tell a difference in my posture and how I feel at the end of the day. There are times when I am working on something really complex that I like to sit. If I do that, and I know I’ll be at my desk all day, I set a timer so that I can get up and jump rope. As a side note, five straight minutes of jumping rope is a lot harder than it sounds!
3. Walk it out. If I’m frustrated or depressed because I’ve been writing about cancer all day, or even just regular old sick of what I am writing about, I take a walk around the neighborhood. People love to say they don’t have time, but it is a great way to push the reset button and to spend some time outside.
4. Stretch. The nice thing about working from home is you can throw a yoga mat on the floor and set a timer to go off every hour and a half so you can stretch for 10 minutes. Heck, most of us are already wearing yoga pants right?
Keeping your body in good shape is important, especially when you’re asking so much of your mind.