I’m not a huge fan of physical exercise, and I never have been. I wasn’t quite the kid who got picked last for games, but I was certainly in the bottom half of the class when it came to team sports. Frankly, I would always rather be reading a book. Of course, that was when I still hurtled around at playtime, running and skipping, and generally wearing myself out physically.
Then there was all that dance. I danced for years, and then I danced in clubs for a few more years. I also lifted a lot of weights at university. Yep... you did read that correctly. I was buff, in a very feminine way, all lean and long and athletic, but I still did 500 sit-ups a day.
Now, I ride an exercise bike. I have a slight arhythmia and aerobic exercise seems to keep it at bay. While I ride, I also have the wondrous privilege of being read to, another of favourite things. Music breaks my cycling rhythm, so I’m a big audiobook fan. I get more daily exercise by walking pretty well everywhere, too, since I don’t drive.
What’s that got to do with ideas? Well, while I was cleaning the stove the other day, vigorously, just so you know, I had a really good think, and ironed out some story kinks that involved developing some premises into proper ideas.
When that was done, I went off to hoover three flights of stairs to see if lightning really can strike twice.
Here’s the thing, and we’re back to that old chestnut, Latin, again... People have known the value of a bit of hard physical work for a good couple of millennia.
Pliny put it like this:
It is remarkable how ones wits are sharpened by physical exercise.
But I think the Cicero quote is probably my favourite:
It is exercise alone that supports the spirits and keeps the mind in vigor.
Vigor... That’s what we want!