by Buzz Books Author Cara Brookins
MY SPIN ON MOVING
Buzz Books’ focus on writer wellness couldn’t have come at a better time for me. The truth is—I sit. I sit a lot. In my day job—the thing I do to support my writing habit—I work as a computer programmer analyst. Developing new software systems happens sitting down with varieties of snack food in the desk drawers. Since writing tends to happen in the same way, I find myself poised over a keyboard for more than twelve hours every single day. While I can’t quit the day job or the night job, I have found some fun ways to keep moving and stay healthy.
MOVE AT WORK!
Workers are advised to get up and stretch to improve circulation at least every two hours. At work, this is a challenge. Living in a cube sized office doesn’t offer space for a yoga break. Occasionally I can take a short walk around the block or walk to a nearby meeting, but this isn’t frequent enough to be a real plan for healthy moving every day. When I took a week to track how often I actually got up and moved, I found that complex coding sometimes kept me sitting for up to four hours at a time. That’s horrible news for my circulatory system and my tense muscles!
The intention to do better wasn’t enough. I needed more prodding. So I set an hourly chime on my phone with a message that said, “Stand up!” This interruption was annoying at first. But I found that I eventually was able to stand and move without breaking my concentration. The code was still in my head while I reached over my head, took some deep breaths, and touched my toes…well I’m really not all that flexible, but I tried to touch them. Then when I sat back down and settled in, the extra movement picked up my focus and problem solving to a new level. Best of all, my body felt better all day.
Oh, and the snacks in my drawer are now almonds, dried fruit, and yogurt. Yum!
MOVE AT PLAY!
While my home library offers several different positions for writing, the positions are still sedentary. At home I have more options for movement too. Let’s face it we can do a lot of things at home that we wouldn’t do in heels and a pencil skirt or a shirt and tie at the office.
Exercise bores me. It isn’t fun for me on the street or a treadmill. The endless repetition of a gym workout is not my thing either. I admire all you alien beings who are entertained by these things but I’ve tried enough to know my opinion isn’t going to change. But I have found the option that is perfect for me. I hoop. Yup, I know it sounds silly—but I’m a hooper. I kick it up a notch to something that resembles gymnastic hooping. Sometimes the hoop is even on fire or I add weights for added work, but it’s still just hooping.
One of my daughters hoops with me so this is family time, too. Cars do stop at the end of my driveway to watch the circus show at times, but we have a blast. We learn new tricks and challenge one another with multiple hoops on various limbs. After hours of practice, the hoops move fluidly up and down our bodies, around arms, legs, neck and shoulders. It is a beautiful sport and one of the fastest ways to develop impressive abs. I do spend some time on the elliptical to get my heart rate up faster, but that’s definitely not the fun part.
At any given night between 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. I wander outside, put on some music, and hoop in the great outdoors. It’s amazing what this sort of full body movement does for a stagnant book plot. I’m not brave enough to video my own hooping, but here are a few links to show you some hooping moves. I challenge everyone to try something new this year. Move your body and your mind in a way that makes you smile. If you can find a way to connect to your family and friends while doing it, you’ve found the perfect ‘move’ for your life. Share your fun ideas!
Want to make your own hoop? Use ½ inch flexible plastic pipe and cover it with hockey grip tape. A beginner hoop should reach from the ground almost to your bellybutton. Don’t start with a child’s hoop. To make your own weighted hoop, fill that pipe with water and glue the pipe joint in to seal it.
CARA HOOPING AT THE PARK:
CARA HOOPING AT HOME:
VIDEO LINKS TO OTHER HOOPERS!
Slow Dance Music: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s65sXyt-W0c
Practice Makes Improvement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmEwVC9x-h4
Writers, can you relate to Cara’s post? Consider signing our Writer Wellness Pledge to make wellness a top priority for you in 2013. Lots of tips and inspiration here.