How Exercising Helps Us Pray and Write

Don’t let today’s featured article about running and writing turn you away if you can’t fathom the practice of running daily. Nick Ripatrazone writes in The Atlantic about the benefits of running for writers and the ways that the flow of running connects with the flow of writing.

I have personally found that most of this article also applies to contemplative prayer. Both writing and prayer can thrive when we immerse ourselves in a simple, repetitive practice that allows our minds to be clear and our imaginations to wander.

Whether you walk, swim, bike ride, run, or do something else to exercise, your writing and your prayer will benefit over the long term. It may take a while to train your mind alongside your body, but I was personally shocked at all of the benefits I saw after only three months of running four days a week. Here are a few key quotes from Ripatrazone’s article:


“In many ways running is a natural extension of writing. The steady accumulation of miles mirrors the accumulation of pages, and both forms of regimented exertion can yield a sense of completion and joy. Through running, writers deepen their ability to focus on a single, engrossing task and enter a new state of mind entirely—word after word, mile after mile.”


“Once I built a tolerance for distance my runs became incubators for writing ideas. The steady, repetitive movement of distance running triggers one’s intellectual autopilot, freeing room for creative thought. Neuroscientists describe this experience as a feeling of timelessness, where attention drifts and imagination thrives.”


“Writing exists in that odd mental space between imagination and intellect, between the organic and the planned. Runners must learn to accept the same paradoxes, to realize that each individual run has its own narrative, with twists and turns and strains.”


Read more at The Atlantic.


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