Writing requires a certain degree of physical strength and prowess which can be achieved over time or through practice. Like any other physical sport, exercise is important to help writers develop strength and stamina to sustain them through countless rigorous hours of exertion. To help writers, I’ve developed a few exercises that are effective to this end.
1. Keyboarding. There are several finger exercises to help improve finger strength for typing. The best is to take an old typewriter with rusted keys and pound away at it for a couple of hours. If you are partial to music as well, use any keyboard instrument, but be sure you exercise in a soundproof room so the neighbors do not benefit from your exercise. If you have no keyboard or old typewriter, the good old finger tapping technique will do. Tap at different rates and intensities on a table top.
2. Twirling. To maintain flexibility in your fingers, practice twirling pens or pencils. Learn how to roll a coin or gumball across your fingers.
3. Squeezing. Keep a tennis ball at hand and squeeze periodically.
4. Baskets. If you don’t want your arm joints–wrists, elbows, shoulders–to stiffen and freeze, keep a small can (a trash bin makes a perfect receptacle) across the room from your work table. After each page you write, crumple up and shoot into the can.
5. Pencil darts. Throw pencils at a corkboard to keep your wrists flexible. Prevents carpal tunnel syndrome.
6. Neck stretch. Locate your TV set to either side of your writing desk and twist your neck around to glimpse the picture. You can also locate your desk so a window is to one side or behind you. Twist your head about to see what the neighbors are doing or which direction the ambulance or fire truck is heading everytime you hear noise.
7. Arm stretch. Set your candy, popcorn, or chip dish about three feet away from your pad or computer keyboard. Stretch your arm out to reach and grasp. Perform 10 times every 10 minutes for maximum effect.
8. Back twist. Challenge yourself and set your snack dish behind you. Do as you did in #7. For a special challenge, set the dish higher or lower than shoulder level.
9. Foot taps. Tap your feet to the rhythm of your background music. Good for keeping your feet from falling asleep, as well.
10. Leg lifts. Lift your sleeping dog or cat with your legs. Great resistance exercise and strength training. Also works with a small child.
11. Eye squint. Get up close to people as you talk so you have to squint to see their eyes clearly. If you don’t talk to a lot of people, you can get the same effects from reading food package labels. If you’re working on a computer, you can change the font size to anything less than 8 points to achieve the squint.
Perform the above exercises regularly and you’ll soon feel like a writer, even if you don’t write!