Tag Archive for: exercise

Clicking Our Heels – Physically Moving Outside Our Comfort Zones?

Clicking Our Heels –
Physically Moving Outside Our Comfort Zones?

In last month’s Clicking Our Heels blog post we
discussed our favorite forms of exercise. Our answers were quite varied, but
what if we had an opportunity to physically move outside our comfort zones?
What if we had the option to skydive, bungee jump, mountain climb, or ??? –
would we or would we opt to be couch potatoes?


Mary Lee Ashford: Oh, no. No skydiving, bungee jumping, or
mountain climbing for me. Boating could be a yes, but I would undoubtedly take
a book along.


Bethany Maines: I’ve been indoor skydiving (total blast), I
would go bungee jumping given the opportunity, I’ve hiked up a few mountains,
and I like being a couch potato but usually someone in my family is hogging it.
Frequently, it’s the dog.


Gay Yellen: The beautiful city park across the street makes
for easy, almost daily walking jaunts.


Lynn Mcpherson: I’ve been skydiving three times. It was
amazing. I’m not good at sitting around. I like to get outside and have some


Donnell Bell:  I love
taking hills, not necessarily mountains-I tried that and lost two toenails!!


Barbara J. Eikmeier: I would be willing to go zip lining.


Lynn C. Willis: Oh, mountain climbing! I have books on
training to climb Everest but have recently realized I don’t like the cold.


Lois Winston: None of the above. However, I do love to take
long walks.


Robin Hillyer-Miles: I like hiking. I am not a dare devil!


Dru Ann Love: Definitely a couch potato. Give me a sci-fi
movie and I’m in heaven.


Kathryn Lane: Love mountain climbing!


Debra Sennefelder: No to everything in that question. LOL I
won’t climb a mountain, but I love a good hike. So there you have my level of


Anita Carter: If those are my only choice, I guess I’m a
couch potato. LOL The most adventurous active I’ve ever done was ziplining.


Linda Rodriguez: I love the idea of bungee jumping with my
walker with specialized support for my wrecked shoulder. I think I’ll go with


Shari Randall: No, thank you! Couch for me!


Debra H. Goldstein: All of these require exertion – even
getting on and off the couch. I think I’ll take a long hot bath while reading a
good gossipy magazine.

Clicking Our Heels – Favorite Form of Exercise

Clicking Our Heels – Favorite
Form of Exercise

In the past, we’ve discussed what the Stiletto Gang
members would be doing if we weren’t reading or writing, but the question came
up as to what our favorite form of exercise is.


Debra H. Goldstein: 
I’m a couch potato. During the pandemic, I thought I should do something
so I ordered a Cubii exerciser. After a week, I shrouded it. Periodically, I
look at it from the couch.


Lynn C. Willis: Hiking with Finn.


Barbara J. Eikmeier: Favorite doesn’t necessarily imply I
do it with any regularity, right. I love swimming laps, but mostly I ride my
stationary bike.


Donnell Bell: 


Gay Yellen: Dancing with my husband. He took me dancing on
our first (blind) date, and that almost sealed the deal right there!


Lynn McPherson: I love walking.


Bethany Maines: Karate! I’ve been taking and teaching
karate for over a decade. It’s a great place to keep fit and connect with my


Mary Lee Ashford: My favorite exercise is walking, outside
if the weather permits. I also enjoy yoga though my knees are not enjoying it
lately, and I love dance though I don’t often get the opportunity except around
the house. In which case, I hope no one is watching!


Shari Randall: I love Zumba and country line dancing.
They’re so much fun they don’t feel like exercise to me at all.


Linda Rodriguez: Dance (or gardening) used to be mine. But
lately, it’s physical therapy.


Anita Carter: I love kickboxing!


T.K. Thorne: Before Covid, I did Akayama Ryu martial arts
twice a week. This year I learned a Tai Chi series and that has really kept me
sane. I like to walk outside where there are trees and space to breathe.


Debra Sennefelder: I love exercise. It keeps me in shape
and it keeps me sane. I love weight workouts, walking/treadmill workouts,
Pilates and Yoga. I aim for five to six workouts a week, so I like a lot of


Kathryn Lane: Walking in a beautiful setting, especially in
the mountains, brings me great joy and peace of mind.


Dru Ann Love: Definitely a couch potato. Give me a sci-fi
movie and I’m in heaven.


Kathleen Kaska: I love running. I just completed my
twenty-fourth marathon.


Saralyn Richard: Long walks (working out plot points while


Robin Hillyer-Miles: Yoga.


Lois Winston: Walking.

An Exercise in Motivation

An Exercise in Motivation by Debra H. Goldstein

People who exercise have always fascinated me. One of my
friends thinks she’s in heaven if she gets two long walks in during a day;
another one can’t survive without at least four yoga classes a week; one installed
a dance bar and mirror in her home because ballet moves make her happy; and,
then there’s the one who doesn’t feel satisfied unless he does an equipment
circuit followed by at least a mile of laps in the pool. Although I like these
people, I don’t understand them.

Exercise does not send little happy messages to my brain. It
doesn’t make my aches and pains of aging go away. Rather, it usually increases
them – like the time I raised my arm over my head and tore my rotator cuff.
Despite various promises to myself that I will exercise, I usually can find an
excuse to avoid it.

The pandemic proved to be a great excuse. After all, we were
told to stay out of crowded places where people touched everything. That took
care of the gym. We were told to wear masks. A bathing cap is one thing, but
the thought of breathing through a soggy mask in the pool was too gross to even
try. Rain and cold weather precluded outdoor walking (at least for me – you
should have seen my diehard neighbor in her Northern long winter coat,
earmuffs, and gloves breaking a sweat). But, I knew I had to make an effort.

So, after much TV watching of people sitting on a couch and
peddling what looked like an elliptical that lost its top, I ordered one. It is
cute and neither it nor the pad to keep it from sliding on the floor take up
much room in my office. To motivate myself, I said I could watch a show with
talking heads (and the time in the corner of the screen) only if I was
peddling. It worked until the night I was too tired to do anything except watch
from the comfort of my oversized large chair.

Eventually (several days later), I forced myself to go back
to my routine. Things seemed to be going reasonably well with my modified
exercise program (it wasn’t daily because, as I told myself, my body needed to
only be stressed alternate days), until disaster struck. I went to move my
Cubii Jr and somehow I picked up the slip pad, the telephone rang, I dropped
the pad, and when I came back, I discovered the pad had dropped draping the machine
like a shroud. I haven’t had the heart to move it.

There are times that my motivation to write is like my
desire to exercise – shrouded. All the carrots I dangle in front of myself – I
have a good idea, it’s nice to see a piece accepted, this is why you left your
day job, so you really should put some effort into it, are meaningless. The
adage of just putting my bottom in my chair and writing only works as far as
where I place my derriere.

I tell myself that not writing, like not exercising, is bad
for me. My mind counters that by noting I’m still alive, so not exercising
hasn’t compromised me too much. But then, I realize it has. I weigh more and
lack the stamina for going up hills or walking long distances that I had a few
years ago. I understand that if I don’t start moving, there won’t be as many
options for me to move in the future. It’s the same with my writing. If I don’t
do it, the momentum I’ve started building will die and the ideas will shrivel
in my brain. Not a pleasant thought.

It’s time to start writing and then to uncover my Cubii Jr.
What about you? What writing or reading goal is it time for you to uncover (and
how do you feel about exercise?)?

3 Lessons Learned about Fitness from a Recent Novel

By AB Plum
On my January 5th
morning walk, I dodged an oncoming car. I banged into a cement barrier, broke 4
toes, sprained my ankle, and bruised a tendon. During the slow recovery—no
weight-bearing exercise—I read a lot. The book I was looking forward to the
most proved the most disappointing.
Maybe I was grumpy from
being confined to a wheelchair for a month and wanted some vicarious exercise.
I could’ve chosen from an array of main female characters who swim, row, box,
jog, hike, climb rock walls, practice Tai’chi, and a myriad of other physical
Instead, I selected a
bestseller in which one of the main characters exercised by eating too many
potato chips and pizza.  She played
basketball as a teenager, but Life 101 intervened and    . . .
okay, I got it. I was, after all,  reading her story because of Life 101.
But here’s one lesson I
learned:  Authors should avoid putting a
woman with the fitness level of 0 in a series of scenes where she’s drugged,
kept in a car trunk unconscious, breaks her collarbone, fights mano a mano with
the bad guy, and wins. Compared to this character, I’d suffered no physical
impairment—yet I could barely walk after weeks of taking care of my
injuries.  Did the Author really want me
to suspend logic?
Yes, adrenaline propels
us to lift cars and other Herculean feats in emergencies, but c’mon.
Second lesson
learned:  Authors lose the hard-earned
loyalty of their fans with this kind of character portrayal.  I’ve read everything this author has
published, but I’ll think twice about buying her next book.
There’s at least one
other lesson here:  The big-time critics
gave this book rave reviews. Across the board. I should’ve read the reader
reviews.  No matter what, we writers
cannot fool our audience.
By the way, I think the
same lessons apply to male characters who somehow morph into Superman. I just
didn’t read any of those while waiting to begin my morning walks again.
What about you? Are you
more forgiving of an author’s over-the-top characterization for the sake of
entertainment? Do you have favorite heroines who exercise regularly?

AB Plum writes psychological suspense about jealousy, revenge, and murder. Her newest novella, The MisFit, is coming soon.

Surviving Fitness Stuff


This month, Bethany challenged all of the members of the Stiletto Gang to think about and possibly write a post revealing our thoughts on “Author Fitness.” She specifically asked: “What do you do to keep yourself in shape for writing?  Anything physical (running, meditation, secret wrist stretches) or mental (journaling, daily free writes, writing by hand) that you do weekly or daily to keep you on your writing game.”

Because Linda has been ill with a nasty bug this past week, I’m posting for her.  I think it is a safe bet to say none of the above would be Linda’s response this week. Consequently, before I write my response, join me in wishing Linda a speedy recovery by leaving a comment.

My answer also is nothing.  It’s not that I haven’t tried.  I tried water aerobics with a trainer a few years ago.  When she said, “Raise your right arm,” I complied. Although I felt a sharp pain, I attributed it to being out of shape not to having just torn my rotator cuff. I pressed on with exercising for several weeks before an examination revealed a tear necessitating surgery.  Perhaps the morphine helped my creative thinking at that point in time.

Earlier this year, I signed up for a F.I.T. class.  Let me give you the entire perspective of this class.  It

was taken at a new gym that my husband and I recently had joined.  Previously, we were members at two different gyms, so we thought it would be nice to consolidate and actually go to the same place when we exercised.  Two of our friends accompanied us to the try-out afternoon.  As she and I were ambling on two of the many treadmills, my friend leaned over and whispered, “I don’t see our kind of people here.” She was right.  Everyone in our line of sight was buff, handsome, beautiful, and able to wear spandex without it clinging to their bodies.  Still, my husband and I joined and I even coughed up extra for the F.I.T. class.  When I arrived at my first session, I looked around at the other women and realized “I had found my people.” Even with their comfort and support, I washed out after a few months when I got dizzy jumping from pushups on the floor to jumping jacks and then dropping for ten more. 

Next, I tried a personal trainer.  He was kind, he was smart, and he quickly realized I wasn’t going to be one of those people who strives for a marathon or high intensity exercise level. I was assuring him my goal was merely to be healthy by losing some weight when I did a sit-up and something in my back popped.  Between epidurals, physical therapy, and plain old doctor visits, I didn’t have time (or permission) to exercise. 

Now, I’m back in the pool, but with my signing schedule for Should Have Played Poker being so crazy, who knows what calamity exercise might induce?  I’m not sure, but I’m not going to take any chances.

Writing Fitness

January, I wrote a blog about “Resolution as Metaphor” where I spoke about my
two New Year’s resolutions (to carry less in my purse and drink more water) and
wondered what those resolutions said about me. I decided, “Lightness and water
are two ideas associated with movement and flow. They enable the journey and
keep the adventurer fueled to seek new possibilities.”

I’ve been reading Jordan Rosenfeld’s A
Writer’s Guide to Persistence
(Writer’s Digest Books 2015). Most of the
chapters conclude with two sections, a “Work It” segment that provides ideas to
consider about your writing practice and routines, and a “Move It” segment that
offers suggestions for adding movement to a writer’s sedentary lifestyle. In her
first “Move It” segment (p.10), Rosenfeld points out, “Any time you’ve been
sitting for an hour or more, your body makes preparations to go into ‘shutdown’
mode—essentially it’s preparing for death. Yikes!”


online article from Women’s Health
discussed how the “sitting disease” can lead to heart disease and obesity and
perhaps shorten your life. The article indicated that long periods of sitting
may (1) cause fluid buildup in your legs leading to sleep apnea; (2) encourage
fat cells in your body to create twice as much fat; (3) cause blood sugar to
spike after meals; (4) decrease brain activity, giving you more senior moments;
and (5) make blood flow more sluggish, increasing the possibility of developing
blood clots in the lungs. (See The Risks of a
Sedentary Lifestyle: Stand Up for Your Health
by Tracy Erb Middleton,
published August 6, 2012.) The article suggested: “The key to fighting sitting
disease lies in augmenting your routine with something called NEAT, or
nonexercise activity thermogenesis. Translation: low-impact movements that keep
your metabolism humming and your circulation flowing.”

Writing fitness was addressed recently in a guest
on Lois Winston’s Anastasia Pollock blog by Kay C. Burns, a
registered nurse who writes suspense mystery. Kay also mentioned that writing
for long periods without breaks can lead to backache, eye strain, wrist strain,
general weakness, headache, fatigue, isolation, and depression. She recommended
that writers get sufficient sleep, stay hydrated, eat healthy, stay active, control
weight, and manage stress. She quoted author C. Hope Clark, who in her book The Shy Author Reborn and an
online post
for Colleen M. Story’s blog Writing
and Wellness
emphasized that keeping healthy was essential to good writing.
Hope’s routine included getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of liquids,
gentle exercise, and socializing

Hemingway, Thomas Jefferson, and Winston Churchill all were supposed to have
written while standing. In his letters, Kurt Vonnegut mentioned that he walked,
swam, and did push ups and sit ups.

In a
2006 online article titled “Exercises for Writers and Other Desk Slaves,” Elsa
O’Neal suggests some gentle movements based on yoga poses to help vary the
position of tired eyes, necks, wrists, fingers, stomachs, legs, and feet. These
exercises can be done while seated at a desk, so there’s no excuse not to stop
briefly, stretch, and vary position before plunging forward with a writing project.
If time is a factor, take a look at Colleen M. Story’s message on Writing and
Wellness for “How to Boost Your Health in Less Than a Minute a Day.” She recommends
not only exercise and fluids, but also chocolate and laughter. Surely, those
are reasons to give yourself a writing break to improve your productivity!

do you do to safeguard your health and enhance your writing?


legislative attorney and former law librarian, Paula Gail Benson’s short
stories have appeared in Kings River
, the Bethlehem Writers
, Mystery Times Ten 2013
(Buddhapuss Ink), A Tall Ship, a Star,
and Plunder
(Dark Oak Press and Media 2014), A Shaker of Margaritas: That Mysterious Woman (Mozark Press 2014),
and Fish or Cut Bait: a Guppy Anthology (Wildside
Press 2015). She regularly blogs with others about writing mysteries at the
Stiletto Gang and Writers Who Kill.
Her personal blog is Little Sources of
Joy and her website is http://paulagailbenson.com.

Twenty-One Days Does a Habit Make by Debra H. Goldstein

Twenty-one Days Does a Habit MakeExercise has always been an anathema to me. I hate the idea of glistening, smelling, or messing up my hair. My idea of joy tends to be sedentary: reading, writing, talking or watching a show. Unfortunately, recently I was forced to embrace the concept of exercise. I shuddered at the thought and then wondered if I should buy some cute clothing to make it palatable.I rejected the idea of spending a penny on something I knew would be a temporary activity. Instead, I went to a shoe sale at my favorite store that carries a wide selection of 6.5 Ns and spent my clothing budget on something I would enjoy. You may recall, in my earlier blogs, I have admitted my “I’m not going to buy anything” resolve slips for two things: shoes and books. Nothing I purchased resembled a sneaker. My logic was simple – why waste money on something that would soon be relegated to a back shelf. For twenty-one gym sessions, I groaned, made jokes, and thought about ways to avoid the treadmill, free weights, and recumbent bicycle, but on the twenty-second day something funny happened. I woke up looking forward to wasting my time at the gym. By the thirtieth day, a Sunday, I felt something was lacking when rain forced me to cancel my plans to take a long walk. Who would have thought I would be the poster child for “do something twenty-one times and you’ll develop a habit?” Not me. The reality is that I think exercise has become a habit. The problem is that it is encroaching on other elements in my life.Exercising and allowing for recovery from it cuts into my “hit and miss when the mood moves me” writing style. This type of writing style requires waiting for the muse to strike. There is no predictability of what project will be undertaken or when. Excuses and other activities leave few hours for writing, but there are even fewer available because of the amount of time taken up by exercising.What to do? The answer seems simple enough. If twenty-one days produced a desire to exercise consistently then, perhaps, the same method can be used to make my writing efforts more balanced.  I’m three days into the experiment and so far, I’ve finished a novel (keep your fingers crossed), wrote and submitted a short story, and tackled this blog. I don’t expect years of work habits to be discarded overnight, but I have a funny feeling that eighteen days from now I will be boasting two new habits. If so, expect me to report that I’ve bought a pair of real exercise pants (and maybe a new pair of sneakers) plus written something I’m pleased with. In the meantime, I’m curious. What have you done for twenty-one days that has resulted in a sustained new behavior? Do you think I’ll make it? 

Sore Muscles

By Bethany Maines

Writing is hard. 
I started out this blog with an eloquent soliloquy on the
nature of writing and deleted it in favor of the truth.
Now, you might be thinking, “One word in front of another –
how hard is that, really?” 
It’s not.  The
question is, are those the right words, in the right order, at the right
time?  Perhaps my statement ought
to be, “Writing well is hard.”
But, no, I stand by original statement.  I sat down last night to write
something fresh.  I’ve mainly been
doing revisions for last few months and as I attempted to write something new I
thought, “Dear God, this is like pulling teeth.  Didn’t I used to be able to do this?  In fact, didn’t I used to do this
Apparently, I’m out of shape.  I feel like a fat ex-marathoner on a treadmill, all wobbly
and confused about why things aren’t working the way they should.  It made me long for the good ol’ days
when I could write a blistering pace and could sometimes finish whole chapters
in day.  Of course, this isn’t the
first time I’ve been in this spot. 
I’m the yo-yo dieter of writing. 
I admire people who never seem to get out of writing shape.  But I find it very hard to do revisions
and write at the same time. They exercise such different mental muscles that
doing both is… well, it’s probably an excellent form of cross-training, but
mostly it’s just hard.   So
today, to avoid pulling a hamstring, I will be doing some warm up exercises of
six-word short stories.  Feel free
to post your own in the comments. 
3 Extra-Short Mysteries:
  1. He died; she went to Cabo.
  2. Postman rang once, but fired twice.
  3. Insurance paid out – like she’d planned.

Bethany Maines is the author of
the Carrie Mae Mystery series and Tales from the City of Destiny. You can also view the Carrie Mae youtube
video or catch up with her on Twitter and