Can Good Health Improve Your Abilities as a Writer?

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As a writer, you depend on the ability of your mind for productivity. The better your mind performs, the better your writing becomes. This is true whether you’re coming up with your own novel or working for a paying client. And here is how good health will improve that factor.

Anything that benefits the brain will surely impact your ability to put words together. I’m not saying you can’t be a successful writer unless you have the body of a Greek god, but it will make a difference.




9 Benefits of Good Health for Writers

Exercise and proper eating do more than just help you shed a few pounds. In fact, it directly affects the mind as much as it does your waistline. Here are nine reasons to invest more in good health as a writer.

1. Enhanced Moods

No one likes to work when they’re in a down state. As a freelance writer, it often results in decreased income.

In reality, you’re more likely to be far more productive when in a positive mood. Experts attest to how happiness in the workplace increases productivity. Even if you work from home, the same principles apply. 1

Intense exercise routines prompt the body to release endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller. You’ve undoubtedly heard of “runner’s high.” This happens when the body is flooded with this hormone and gives one a euphoric sensation. 2

Aerobic exercises, or pretty much any activity that can cause you to sweat, is going to affect your mental health in a positive way. Many therapists will use exercise as a form of therapy to treat depression, anxiety and other mental problems. 3

2. Stress Relief

No Stress

Stress can hinder you as a writer. It causes a variety of problems such as clouding the mind, making you irrational and contributes to word choice and sentence structure. Which is why it’s important to relieve stress whenever possible.

Exercise is often used to treat stress and anxiety, which is often very productive for many. In a way, it works similar to how fitness improves the mood. It helps you cope better with certain situations and keeps you from blowing your top. 4

Food can also be used to treat stress in a healthy way. For instance, blueberries are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants to help lower blood pressure and relax the body. And this is just one of many kinds of food for dealing with stress. 5

3. Mental Processing Power

The ability to process information is vital for a writer. Especially if you’re a freelancer working for a new client on a project you’ve never done. I’ve had to write about all kinds of topics I didn’t know.

This means the brain needs to address information quickly to create content that is “real.” Yes, it’s possible to sound like an expert even though you’re not.

Exercise increases the white matter in the brain. This material facilitates connections of the neurons in your head. In a nutshell, white matter increases cognitive abilities including brain-processing speed. 6

Now, don’t assume you’ll become the smartest person alive after a few months of rigorous training. However, regular aerobic exercises do have potential to raise your IQ a few points.

4. Memory Recall

Memory Recall

Being able to recall details is important whether you’re a writer or a cashier at McDonald’s. You need this ability in any career, which means exercise will boost your performance regardless of what you do for a living.

Scientists conclude that 20-minute sessions every day for six weeks can improve various tasks requiring memory. Even Harvard studies show how subjects are capable of retaining information during and after exercise comparatively. 7

I would link to the Harvard study, but they keep denying my backlinks. Guess my blog just isn’t popular enough for them. If you want to find this report, I suggest Googling, “exercise memory study.” It’s usually on the top of the results.




5. Greater Focus

Focus and concentration helps writers maintain a good flow of work. Without it, you may find yourself drifting off to day dream or are otherwise easily distracted.

Personally, I find myself far more focused on days I exercise in the morning as opposed to others. It’s often less difficult to leave the diversions alone and finish my work.

This is a collective process regarding all of the elements that improve the brain. Stress, processing power and even your mood will contribute to greater focus.

Because I can be quite the goldfish at times, good health practices help me keep centered on what I’m trying to accomplish.

6. Cognitive Multitasking

Multitasking

Many writers rely on the ability to multitask. This is especially true for those who work from home and have to care for family. Others may take on several jobs at once with a degree of success.

Exercising while purposely trying to mentally multitask improves overall function of the brain. This is evident in quite a few studies, including one from Harvard University. 8

These studies suggest how the capacity to multitask while getting the blood flowing benefits your ability to think and reason. It also gives you concentration to perform several tasks simultaneously with a higher degree of efficiency.

Personally, I focus on one project at a time for clients and myself. However, there are people who could probably benefit from multitask physical training.

7. Enhances Creativity

Even those who strictly write for business clients use creativity to some degree. Without being creative, you’d have a difficult time coming up with sentences of your own or trying new ways to get a point across.

No matter what you’re writing, there is a degree of creativity involved.

Although there isn’t a lot of data regarding creativity on the brain yet, the results of existing studies does point to a benefit. With all of the mental benefits that do come from proper eating and exercise, it’s easy to assume this part of the brain is affected as well. 9

Personally, I find I come up with some of my best ideas while walking around or riding my bike. In fact, I used to go on “working breaks” when I operated my computer business. I would troubleshoot computer problems in my mind while walking around the building – which always resulted in a fixed device or new approach to solve the problem.

8. Increasing Energy Levels

Improve Energy

Any career benefits from a higher energy level. As a writer, I find myself far more productive when I’m not fighting fatigue. It also reduces the likelihood of my eyes wandering around the screen and day dreaming.

Increasing your physical activity boosts your energy levels. For some people, getting the heart rate up and causing a sweat is more effective for prolonged energy than using stimulants like coffee or “energy” drinks. 10

Since I’ve added regular exercising to my daily routine, I’ve noticed an increase in average productivity throughout the day. I know this because I am a geek and keep a spreadsheet regarding every minute and every word I write.

9. Improve Sleep Quality

One of the most important factors of good health is getting enough sleep. Being tired will influence everything from how you process the information you’re writing to increasing your blood pressure.

In one incident, I hallucinated from sleep deprivation. It was a bit scary as I was working the graveyard shift at a gas station.

Studies show how getting quality sleep decreases the likelihood of having difficulty concentrating by 45%. This is achieved by getting at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or more during the week. This boils down to about 21.4 minutes per day…something that isn’t all that difficult to obtain. 11

Good Health Affects More than Stepping on a Scale

I’m not saying you can’t be successful if you don’t have good health. But realize your potential if you strengthened the body and the mind. Personally, I’ve seen a significant difference as a writer after losing 70 pounds.

Do it not only because it’ll improve your capacity to write. Be healthy to lengthen your life.




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Sources

  1. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/297385
  2. https://www.cnn.com/2016/01/13/health/endorphins-exercise-cause-happiness/index.html
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
  4. https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety
  5. https://www.prevention.com/life/a20444221/13-healthy-foods-that-reduce-stress-and-depression/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3311131/
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320157.php
  8. https://sharpbrains.com/blog/2018/02/23/to-maximize-cognitive-benefits-study-suggests-you-exercise-brain-and-body-at-the-same-time/
  9. http://www.businessinsider.com/exercise-benefits-brain-creativity-stress-2016-11
  10. https://www.exercise.com/blog/how-does-exercise-increase-energy/
  11. https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/study-physical-activity-impacts-overall-quality-sleep

Michael Brockbank

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 6,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel.

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