Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fitness and creative types

If you want to maintain your creative output, one of the first things you should do is purchase a gym membership. Or—failing that—perhaps an exercise bike. 

Am I still being too elitist? Well, how about a pair of walking shoes? 

Charles Dickens is one of history’s most prolific authors. He was also a compulsive, habitual walker. Dickens reportedly walked as many as twenty miles each day. (I can’t imagine walking that far in the footwear of the Victorian Era.) It was during these long peregrinations that Dickens brainstormed, and dealt with writer’s block—to the extent that Dickens ever suffered from that malady.

Around the time that Jimmy Carter was president, I read the following advice in a copy of Reader’s Digest. (My grandmother was a subscriber.) “If you’re looking for inspiration, go for a walk. Angels whisper to a man when he’s walking.”  

Yes, I realize that statement is both gender-discriminatory and indicative of Judeo-Christian bias. But you get the idea: Exercise is a great way to enhance one’s thought processes. 

It’s been long established that exercise oxygenates the brain; and this spurs creativity. I get some of my best ideas—about all sorts of things—when I’m running, walking, or riding a stationary bike.

And let’s not forget the endorphin rush that exercise provides—otherwise known as “runner’s high”.

Too many writers and creative types have driven themselves to early graves with drink or drugs over the years: Fitzgerald, Poe, Kerouac—the list goes on and on. I can’t help but wonder: How many of them might have been saved—and been more productive artists—if they’d become addicted to exercise instead?