A teacher once told me that if he could have put the benefits of exercise into a pill and sell it, he'd have been rich -- and he was right. Whether you are working in a studio, toiling away at a computer, or staring blankly at a notebook, as a creative person one of the most important keys to wellness (and the one of the easiest things to forget to do) is exercise. Being physically active is a powerful process for the mind, body and soul -- and when done regularly, you will notice significant improvements in your health, and in your creativity.
Exercising regularly causes the body to significantly increase its metabolism -- and this is not just a good thing for your waistline. This means that the body will experience an increase in energy metabolism for several hours after an exercise session, providing benefits long after you've finished the hard yards. Instead of reaching for that third (fourth, fifth...) cup of coffee, book yourself in for a session at the gym, or go for a brisk walk around the block a few times a day.
Exercising doesn't just affect the body -- it can also be a holistic routine that provides benefits to your mind and spirit. When you exercise, your body experiences increased levels of endorphins -- feel-good chemicals that improve mood, and reduce anxiety and stress. According to the Mayo Clinic website, exercising reduces anxiety, reduces depression, and helps people to cope with worries and low self-esteem. So if you are needing a pick-me-up or clients are getting you down, choose a form of exercise that is fun, whether its swimming, basketball, or yoga, and get cracking!
Remember social interaction? Talking with other human beings face to face; maybe exchanging a joke or a yarn? People in the creative industries have a tendency to work from home as freelancers or contractors, and it can get quite lonely. Exercising regularly gives you an opportunity to get together regularly with friends and do something you enjoy together. You can also meet new friends, and even network, by joining a gym, a sports team, or attending classes for aerobics, yoga, pilates or tai chi.
Sunlight is so important, and getting not enough is almost as bad as getting too much. We need exposure to sunlight every day for our bodies to convert vitamin precursors to actual vitamin D that we can use. And getting enough sunlight for this process to occur is a problem for a lot of creative people who work at home, in offices or in studios, and don't get outside. Vitamin D is important for mood balance, strong bones, cancer prevention, and immune health. Go for a walk outside, or a jog -- take up outdoor sports and join a team!
Exercise helps to generate the creative flow of ideas, and gives the mind a chance to work around challenges and blocks. For one, exercise keeps the conscious mind occupied, while the subconscious mind quietly toils away in the background and comes up with new and better solutions for whatever you are working on. Time and time again I get more out of a ten minute walk around the block or to the park, than I do with two hours of staring at a blank computer screen. Fresh air, sunlight, plants, architecture, conversations... there is so much happening outside your work space that exercise gives you a chance to really notice and take in!