Friday, April 02, 2010

Book Giveaway during National Public Health Week

National Public Health Week is April 5-11.

We writers spend hours hunching over keyboards, squinting at print, sitting, stressing over plot…or whatever our particular preoccupations may be. All of which, in unrelenting mode, may not be entirely good for our bodies and minds nor the spaces in between.

I practice yoga and tai chi, which I must must must get back to, since a broken toe sort of got in the way for a while.

Arthur Slade has made himself a treadmill desk!

And you? Respond to this post with your plans for integrating healthy living with writing or reading, and enter a drawing for a paperback copy of The Happiest Tree: A Yoga Story for the kid in your life, or the kid in you! Here's to your health!


  1. Hi, Uma,
    I saw this video of Arthur Slade and found a SurfShelf to buy that was fairly inexpensive and holds my laptop. I've walked a lot more while still getting work done. It's especially nice on rainy (or cold) days!

    Cindy Faughnan

  2. Hey Uma - wonderful to hear from you...
    It was such a coincidence to get your email today because I brought my book to the gym and after my workout I rewarded myself by taking my book into the sauna and read while relaxing and stretching. I also read while on the stationary bike and sometimes on the treadmill but the sauna is the best:)

  3. Excellent! This makes the second writer I've seen with a treadmill desk. Someday I will have one too... when I can afford a treadmill.


    Until then, I've converted my computer desk into a standing workstation. I'm not walking, but I'm not hunching over now either.

  4. Thanks for mentioning the treadmill desk. It really has changed how I write (physically) and how long and hard I can concentrate. Plus I can eat more cookies. : )

  5. You're inspiring a lot of people! Want to tell us which of your books you've written at the treadmill desk?

  6. The treadmill desk looks really nice, but is not in my possibilities at this time.

    As soon as my foot heals and stitches are removed I'll be able to move around more. Just one more week or so. Still, I do hobble around and wish I could exercise.

    I take lots of breaks and get up and move and go for walks or other exercise. But this doesn't give my mind a break, as that is where I usually figure out character or plot or dialogue.

    I'll spend more time and be more consistent with my tai chi and ba duan gin. This gives my mind a rest and gets me out of my very intense "unrelenting mode" so it is healthy for me to do, and is good for my writing. (I don't know enough yoga, but it would do the same thing for me.)
    Hope your toe is healed.

  7. I'm so glad to have been directed to your website, Uma. I've heard your name for a long time. And I've heard elsewhere of Arthur Slade's writing on a treadmill, so thank you for letting us see him in action. -- About the exercising and writing dilemma: I've been noticing how much time I spend on the computer and how my exercise time has been diminishing. I've made the decision to do my yoga and get out and walk the *first* thing in the morning - then it's done and I'm well. Not an original idea, but it works. I don't think there's room in our house, though, for a treadmill - maybe someone will invent a shorter one. I'll find the SurfShelf online - maybe I could take it to the gym with me, attach it to one of their treadmills, put my laptop on it, and GO and WRITE! It would likely attract a lot of attention, but maybe that would motivate others, too.

  8. The toe's healing, Sarah. I'm sending healing wishes for your foot. Deanna, welcome. I used to do my tai chi first thing in the morning but this silly broken toe messed everything up. But now I can start again. And walk again, which is great. Funny thing--the cats are always scrappy in the morning, but when I do this one qigong set they sit there like bookends and look at me. The moment I stop, the fur flies again until I set breakfast out! Only the one set has that effect.

  9. I sit on a physioball, and I've taken to setting my 5 pounds dumbells below my desk to I can lift them a bit (when I think about it.) I find that the older I get, the more difficult it is for me to sit for long stretches of time, anyway, so I try to get up and do a little stretching, but all of that is not enough. I had started tai chi last year, but then summer came, and I never went back. I try to do yoga and strength training in the mornings with the wii fit, too, but right now, it is sooo hot, in Hyderabad, I find it very hard to do anything at all... Sarah Aronson had a great series of posts on Through the Tollbooth about posture, too... That treadmill desk, though, very intriguing... Good luck with the tail end of the toe healing process, Uma.

  10. I'm getting ideas to add to my routine. I like the idea of a physioball. I walk several mornings a week plus I do resistence training at the gym twice a week for an hour each time. I have to remind myself to stretch when I'm writing so am thinking of setting a timer to make myself move. Of course, then I'd have to set a timer to remind myself to set a timer.

    Sarah and Uma: sorry about your foot problems. When I had foot surgery, I concenctrated on upper body workouts to keep my fitness level up.

  11. I've made it a goal to do some kind of activity--walking, stretching, yoga--for 20 minutes every day BEFORE I sit down at my desk to write. I used think, "I'll do it later" but by then, I'm tired. But if I do feel like it later, then I'll have twice the benefit. It's better than not doing any exercise at all.

  12. I threw all your names up in the air and had the cats pick, and Andrea, you won! If you send me your mailing address by e-mail ( I'll send you a book.

  13. Wow, thanks so much, Uma! This is very exciting!

  14. Uma, I've received the book and it's lovely! I will enjoy using it with my students - and maybe I'll introduce them to some yoga.