We hear it and read it frequently: staying fit is good, not only for the body, but also for the mind and soul.
Although I was fairly active in my youth (mainly as a swimmer), I pretty much stopped doing much of anything during my university years. When I started working, I barely had time for my social life, let alone sports of any kind. Even when I got my two dogs, I didn’t move significantly more -after all, they’re just miniature wiener dogs, with very short legs…
Living in the US at the time, with all that implies, didn’t help, either, so it wasn’t until I returned to Germany that I started even thinking about doing something again, which eventually lead to really doing something.
Since then, I’ve been mainly running off and on (the usual hectic times keep me down now and again, plus winters here are pretty harsh, and doing anything outside at temperatures below the freezing point is not fun!), but also swimming and some cycling. I even have a spinning wheel in my office (mainly because it wouldn’t fit anywhere else, and because that way I see it every day), which comes in really handy when the weather is rather inclement.
So although I have been doing ok with the physical fitness, it wasn’t until some time last fall that it really became clear to me how important moving your body is. I had been interpreting under fairly tough conditions for three whole days in a row, and due to some unfortunate circumstances, I knew I had to spend at least another three hours in front of the computer translating, something I usually try to avoid. I felt like my head was about to explode. I knew I needed some fresh air to clear my thoughts or I would not be able to produce anything of value. So I grabbed my running shoes and set off.
It was truly amazing: Although I was utterly exhausted when I left the client’s factory, I felt like I was flying through the fields during my run. I could have run forever! Well, probably not, but I sure felt like it. Although I was tired immediately after the run, after a quick shower, I was completely invigorated. The fresh air had blown all stress right out of my brain and my body, and I was able to work some more – and do so well. Had I sat down at the PC right away, I probably would have struggled with every single phrase and still not produced to my usual standard.
Now I try to get moving regularly even more, especially when I don’t feel like it, or when I think I don’t have time. I found that even a brisk, if short, walk with the dogs is more effective in helping concentration and creativity than any amount of coffee (or other stimulant of your choice)!
So what do you do to stay fit, both physically and for work?