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We all go through periods where we don’t want to drag our behinds out of bed to do some work, whether that’s duties around the house, a job at the office, or staring at the glaring computer screen. One way to be certain you stay at your creative best, though, is to make sure you are (wait for it) healthy.

I hate to sound like my grammar school physical education teacher, Miss Sobolowsky, but exercise truly is good for you. (She was the first person to suggest I exercise to reduce the discomfort of menstrual cramps, and darn it if she wasn’t right.) Not only is regular exercise good for your body, but it’s good for your mind, too. And a healthy mind is invaluable to an artist.

(Actually, this is Israeli high jumper Danielle Frenkel, not my grammar school PE teacher.)

Feeling “uninspired?” You may be amazed what wonders a brisk walk or run, a swim, or a sweaty workout will do to get your creativity flowing again. Part of the reason, I’ve found, is because the rush of endorphins brought on by physical exertion opens the blood vessels, which gets your heart pumping faster, sending more blood to your brain. (Nothing like a natural head-rush!)

Depending on your choice of exercise, it also allows you time alone, which you can use to clear your head and maybe consider a new way out of that tricky corner into which you’ve written your characters.

I realize not everyone has time to devote to a regular workout, of course, especially those with hectic household or occupational schedules. But play time with [insert animal or child of choice here] can function as exercise, too. The same can be said for doing the chores (raking leaves, for example, can be a monotonous task…until you put yourself in your character’s shoes, and think about how they’d deal with the job) or running errands. Even a 30-second dance break at your desk can give your body – and your brain – a quick recharge. (Have a rave in your chair. It’s fun!)

In space, no one can hear you exercise. So why not grunt as hard as you can?

So, the next time you’re feeling like the world – either the one you’ve created or the one outside your window – is getting you down, jump up and get your blood pumping. You really will feel better.

What’s your favorite kind of exercise?