14 August 2012 ~ 7 Comments

Exercise is Making Me Dumb

Woman with scale

I would like to take a time out from our regularly scheduled programming to talk about something I’ve been dealing with lately.

Last month, I decided to re-commit myself to getting and staying healthy and in shape. I was about 25 pounds over what I feel is my ideal weight, and the extra jelly didn’t feel much like me. Even outside of the desire to lose weight for vanity’s sake, I’ve always enjoyed being active, and as much as I love writing, I was starting to get a bad case of blogger body. And it didn’t make me happy.

So in addition to staying committed to eating a healthier diet, I’ve started running again. About five days a week I do 45 minutes to an hour of intense cardio, when I feel like it I follow it up with a little weight training. (I’m working on it.)
After a little more than a month I’m down about 10 lbs. I feel my heart pumping again and can run four miles without stopping for the first time in a long time. I’m starting to recall that I once had both ab muscles and shoulder blades, and I’m starting to see very faint ghost lines of where they once existed.

I feel great. I’m on my way to looking great. But there’s only one problem. If words were a life raft, I wouldn’t be able to write enough to save my life.

One big reason is that my day looks different now. I have always saved my writing time for when the rest of my family was sleep. My typical day goes, full time job, time with the kids/husband. Bedtime for everyone but me, and then, writing. Now that I’ve added in an evening workout, the last thing I want to do after that is sit down and type. I feel like the blood that supplies my brain and my fingers must all go to my legs or something.

But it’s also isn’t just a matter of time spent. It’s also different type of focus. To get into my writing zone means to be sitting in a seat, Pandora playing, coffee/muffins beside me, marathon writing until my mind gives out. There are no muffins in the “workout” zone and I find that once I get moving, I want to stay moving. Instead of writing, I want to be outside planting a garden and playing with the kids. Once I come down, I have no desire to do anything intellectual.

While my body needs fruits and veggies and cardio, My mind gets fed by lattes and warm blankets on the couch with my laptop. And I’m having a hard time trying to switch back and forth between the two.

Is this strange or typical? I mean I am in no way in even the same universe as a “real” athlete, but if I were to do just a casual observation of most of the athletic types I know, they aren’t writers. And if I look at the writers, well, I didn’t come up with the term blogger body on my own.

I know I’m usually handing out advice but I need your help on this one! How do I stay healthy, preserve my sexy, and avoid this writing slump? Help!!



7 Responses to “Exercise is Making Me Dumb”

  1. Cheryl Therrien 14 August 2012 at 3:26 pm Permalink

    I can totally sympathize. Perhaps what you might think about is giving yourself that writing time before the workout. Try some sugar free hot chocolate or something that doesn’t crash the diet. Then workout after you finish. Set an alarm so have time for both. Just an idea…

    • Aja Jackson 14 August 2012 at 5:09 pm Permalink

      Great ideas Cheryl. I think I need to re-examine my current schedule and do some rearranging.

  2. Susan Cooper 15 August 2012 at 7:26 am Permalink

    I get what you’re saying. I find that if I do my exercise in the morning, I then am able to work on all the other things, blogging/writing etc. If I don’t, I never do the the exercise at all. I think Cheryl has it right. Do what works best for you and find alternatives to having it all. Good luck with this. :) , Susan/LinkedIn group. :)

    • Aja Jackson 15 August 2012 at 12:35 pm Permalink

      Thanks Susan! I do think that the morning workout would be a good idea. With getting kids ready in the morning I already wake up pretty early and find myself trying to hold on to every last drop of sleep before the alarm goes off. But if I can squeeze in just a short workout early then maybe I won’t have to do one that it as long later on.

  3. Stan cahn 15 August 2012 at 12:43 pm Permalink

    I realize I have to exercise more also. These days Most of my exercise is by using my WII and some of their fitness games. The games are now listed on Weight Watchers Activities.

    • Aja Jackson 17 August 2012 at 2:30 am Permalink

      I haven’t used the Wii yet, but I think it would be a good way for me to get a workout in with the kids around. Didn’t know they were listed in WW either!

  4. Sunay Chowdhury 25 February 2015 at 10:34 am Permalink

    Hi, I came across your website today although it was written 2.5 years ago.

    To begin with, I totally relate to what you were saying about exercises making you dumb. That is so right! I am not a blogger or a writer but I revel in intellectual pursuits – reading, writing (not professional), chit-chatting on intellectual topics, relishing arts, cinema, music, poetry, etc. I feel all of that gets sapped owing to fatigue due to exercises (…including brisk-walking, yes even that makes you dumb!). I rather move around, feel sexy walking around, posing around, meeting friends and generally talking shallow and surface-level because it comes easy due to feeling fitter and ‘in motion’ all the time.

    So I just decided to stop exercising and I have now retained complete command and control of my cognitive functions. I can dive deep into philosophy once again, ponderously meditate over abstract ideas, and basically make decorate my word-raft for speedier thrills in the intellectual rapids!

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