Don’t worry, this post isn’t about “working out”.

I hate that term, actually. I really do.

I want to write about exercise today—but more in relation to creativity. The amazing Jamie at Jamie Ridler Studios has posted to Facebook every day recently, reminding us to “move”—not in the “work out” sense, but in whatever way makes sense to you. Yoga, an impromptu dance party (with the kids, by yourself, who cares?) or a walk or whatever. It’s been a great reminder not only to move, but also to connect with the power that movement brings.

Which is why I’m thinking about it this morning.

Let me say that I’m by no means an athlete. I don’t go to the gym…in fact, I will never go to a gym. Right or wrong, I will think of gyms as being superficial and icky. I’m sure this falls into my aversion to the term “working out”.

But I do need to move. Not only because I’m still working away at that leftover baby weight (and it has been a long road, my friends), but because I am noticeably more creative when I’ve been exercising regularly.

My exercises of choice are yoga and walking. Here’s why:

• Both are relatively easy, inexpensive and neither one requires a gym or $200 sport shoes.

• They’re easy to fit into my schedule.

• I can do them, more or less, in solitude or at least without looking like I’m “working out”. That sort of privacy was really important to me earlier this year, especially when I didn’t want anyone seeing my still-looks-pregnant-six-months-after-the-baby body in anything resembling “workout wear”.

Each morning—okay, most mornings—I do 20 minutes of yoga after I write my morning pages, and before Anna wakes up. It’s become such a habit that I don’t even think about it….I just get right into it after writing. I use a 5-disc yoga DVD series from Sara Ivanhoe (which has now been repackaged into one DVD called Yoga Target Zone). I’ve done these segments for years. They’re simple, and gentle, and I’m much more likely to keep up with a daily 20-minute commitment than an hour-and-a-half long class. (A side note: Don’t let the “you’ll have a whole new body in just 20 minutes!!!” promise throw you off…I think someone was a little too over-the-top with the marketing on this DVD.)

As for walking: This is something I can fit into my day with Anna, and we make a loop around the city park. It usually takes an hour, and it’s a flat and easy walk.

So as for creativity…well… first, I feel healthy and strong when I exercise. Second, the Type-A person in me loves having completed something by 7am. And when I feel strong, and healthy and productive, I’m energized. It’s that “body in motion stays in motion” philosophy. I’m ready to move, go, work, play…

Here’s the other thing: I can’t do other stuff while I’m doing yoga or walking. I can’t do the dishes, or tidy up, or whatever. All I can do is move, and think. And that time when I’m in Downward Dog, or pushing the stroller through the park, is the time when I’m simply more open to creative ideas because there’s no obstacle. It’s kind of like when you get ideas when you’re in the shower or brushing your teeth.

I’m sure someone could tell me what it is about exercise and endorphins and how that all connects to creativity—but in the end, I simply know it’s a practice that works for me.

Happy Monday!

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