By Martha Tucker, Special to

Most writers have dangerous issues they pay little or no attention to until it’s too late–their health! And yet, health can be more of a problem than writer’s block, complications of concentration, writing anxiety, daily output frustration and editor angst. What I’m talking about is sitting-related diseases.

image It took me five years to write my novel, The Mayor’s Wife Wore Sapphires, and all during that time, I had to work at keeping healthy. First of all, I was gaining weight. Then came cold feet with tingling sensation, mental fog, stiff shoulders, headaches, loneliness and depression. I knew I needed a routine of loving me to ever finish this novel. If you don’t believe me see my biography, in which I share how I had to love me enough to be energetic and in good health when my novel was finished.

Photo © Tom Oliveira – FOTOLIA

Sitting from three to five hour stretches at a computer naturally causes obesity, unless it is counterbalanced with an hour of walking, running, stretching, or aerobics. Obesity alone brings along body break down–poor circulation that causes heart disease, hypertension and mental fog, diabetes, heart failure, and thus kidney failure, stroke and don’t forget sagging skin.

Each hour you sit at your computer causes another part of the body to break down, atrophy, cells to die, muscles to sag. Those are just the results you can see. The body was wired to move. When it doesn’t move it rusts inside, and rust (oxidation) causes health problems. As simple as that.

Editor’s note: Learn more about the effects of inactivity from Researchers Against Inactivity-Related Disorders.

image Now that we’ve identified the possible disasters, let’s talk about how to keep the five-hours-a-day work at your computer from rushing you away from this earth, or debilitating you. Begin by bargaining with time to enjoy and promote your great American novel, or that famous nonfiction book–without a potbelly, hunched shoulders, or wrinkled face when you get on Oprah–if you’re able to walk onto that little stage.

Photo © Marc Dietrich – FOTOLIA

Brisk Walking—That’s my favorite. You need no partner, no special time, and no expensive gear. All you need is a will and a habit. Now if you go out at the same time every day for thirty days, you’ll have the walking habit. Brisk walking brings oxygen into the lungs and helps to rid the body of that great destroyer–oxidation. It’s also a weight-bearing activity that keeps the back strong, the neck and legs improving in performance. It pushes blood through your body and washes out harmful things we eat.

Running—That’s my next favorite. It’s the sped-up version of brisk walking.

Dancing—I like dancing because it causes physical and social healing. It moves every part of your body. It gives you interaction with other people to laugh with, make a fool of yourself with and gives you potential new characters to write about. It makes you feel happy.

Yoga—This exercise stretches every muscle in your body and sends blood flowing to your face and brain. Yoga is the only exercise that systematically exercises all of the internal organs of your body– liver, spleen, heart, pancreas, thalamus, and intestines. All three of the above are free, and you know writers often need FREE.

Gym—Usually people pay for this, but won’t drive there to exercise. I live in a condo complex and it has a free gym. It’s great for cold days. There are machines and weights for every part of your body. I love the weights and pull down machines that relieve my shoulders of computer hunching tension.

Drink water—Drink eight glasses of water per day as an antioxidant…to wash all the poisons from your system–stale indoor air, that fatty snack you took when you left your computer. Oh, by the way, just stock the fridge with green stuff, carrots and celery sticks. When you don’t have any bad stuff to eat you won’t eat it. Then don’t feel guilty when you have your treat, a little bit, whatever it is.

Move from your computer every hour. Do something physical. Vaccum, cook, exercise.

Eat lots of green stuff–spinach, greens, cabbage, okra, peas…

This is your best bet for being alert and being strong and healthy when you go on Good Morning America for the entire world to see. Now if you decide you don’t want to choose this lifestyle, or some other daily exercise program, then don’t blame your nurse when she sticks you with a needle in the butt, or your doctor demands that you have a stay in the hospital. It’s all left up to you.

By the way, I did finish my novel with aplomb, got 5-Star Reviews. Presently, I’m a semi-finalist in the 2007 Best New Author Award. Cast a vote for me right before you take your next exercise break. (deadline April 15, 2007)

About the author: Martha Tucker is a 5-Star Review Author, story editor, publisher, and public speaker. Her novel, The Mayor’s Wife Wore Sapphires, an urban mystery/thriller is available at Urban Classic Books. Subscribe to Martha’s free newsletter.