The Healthy Artist: Simple Ways to Stay That Way

On this blog, I have posted some important articles to help improve the studio health and well being of my fellow artists.

Continuing with the “health” theme, my good friend, social media’s favorite fitness guru, Joyce Cherrier gives us some easy, healthy lifestyle advice for the busy artist.

Joyce is a specialist in sport’s conditioning and helping people create healthy lifestyles. A lot of my artist friends work long, obsessive hours without taking the proper time for themselves to eat, drink and exercise. Joyce shares some simple tips to help you become a healthy artist.

Guest author & fitness specialist: Joyce Cherrier

I think every kind of work and hobby comes with its own set of health challenges. Artists are no different. Many hours are spent doing what you love. My personal philosophy has always been to find a way to do what you love forever. It’s fine to look great in your jeans, but it’s even better to make sure you’re healthy from the inside out.


Fit looking Joyce Cherrier windsurfing

When a doctor told me that after years of aerial tricks while windsurfing, I would likely suffer in the future with an arthritic spine, thanks Doc, instead of taking up scrap-booking I began to do yoga and found it helped me tremendously. I tried to do what I could to make sure I could be as active as I could despite what Dr. Doom said.

And artsy people are no different. (Except for maybe the aerial acrobatics part.) So what health issues should you address as an artist?

Along with fitting in daily exercise, focus on nutrition. Whenever you’re focused on a task, time can pass quickly; and before you realize it, you’ve skipped eating or drinking for long periods of time. That’s not healthy!

Easy Fix:

  • Always fill your glass and water bottle before starting: Even better, keep a container that holds at least a half gallon of water which you can refill conveniently.
  • Keep healthy snacks available: Keep snacks like nuts and seeds available. But don’t place the whole bag next to you to avoid mindless overeating. Raw veggies are also a great snack and provide fiber too. So important for digestion for people that sit for long periods of time.
  • Keep your protein intake up and it will help you stay energized and alert, and by avoiding sugar you’ll save yourself from a work-halting sugar crash
  • The Healthy Workspace

Like many people who spend much of their day in front of a computer, artists face the same sedentary challenges. In the British Journal of Sports Medicine studies have suggested that prolonged bouts of sitting time and lack of whole-body muscular movement are strongly associated with obesity, abnormal glucose metabolism, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, and cancer, as well as total mortality independent of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity.

That’s bad news for those of us that sit, including artists. In the past, the thinking was if you are physically active other times of the day you make up for the sitting time, but now experts are saying that’s not the case.

Easy fix:

  • Use a resistance ball: One of the best ways to get in movement throughout your day while sitting is sitting on a resistance ball. Constantly readjusting to keep yourself balanced on the ball, the muscles of the core, pelvis, hips, and legs are being engaged. Many people report they have reduced back pain too. At first you might find you can only use for a few minutes at a time, but over time try to lengthen the time you spend sitting on the ball. A resistance ball is a favorite to use in an exercise program too, so it’s a great purchase.

Set a timer: Time flies when you’re focused, and before you know it you’ve been sitting for 3 hours. Set a timer to make sure you get up and move around every 20 minutes or so. Get up, move around, and stand and do a reach-for-the-sky stretch. Make a point of scheduled breaks. They don’t have to be long. A great time to fill the water glass to make sure not to forget to hydrate!

Many artists like Lori stand when creating and that poses a different set of concerns.

The lack of position choices causes the health problems. Muscles are continually at work to keep you upright, but standing motionless causes a lack of blood flow to the muscles being used. Lack of blood flow causes fatigue in the working muscles. It also can cause problems with vein inflammation. The result over time can be varicose veins. Joints in the feet, knees, hips, and spine become locked in a prolonged standing position and this can contribute to damage of tendons and ligaments.

Easy fix:

  • Change your workstation: Having options in your work space allows for changes in body position which will help with blood flow and give your joints a break. Use a small foot rest to use to shift your weight. If working on a particular part of your art that might cause you to have your arm in one position for a long period, try to use something to support your arm to help curb any fatiguing of your arm and neck.
  • Keep a stool nearby: Have a stool that will help you stay in your favored working position but also allow you rest. Just a bit of support can help take a tremendous amount of stress off muscles and joints. Remember that it’s important to position yourself close to the working area and face your work as straight-on as possible to avoid bending and stooping.

Good health will allow you to keep doing what you love for many years to come. Some simple planning is all it takes to make sure you’re staying healthy while doing what you love!


The fabulous Joyce Cherrier

Joyce Cherrie surfed, skim-boarded, professionally windsurfed, was a personal trainer, managed a gym, and co-owned a health-food store. Now she is a mom, wife, bass-player bass-player and slightly obsessive health nut (I mean ‘nut’ in the best sense of the word) studying to be a specialist in sport’s conditioning and helping people to create a healthy lifestyle by eating well and encouraging physical activity. After over 25 years in sports and fitness, Joyce knows what works!

She was recently feature in the Huffington Post article, 16 Health Experts to Check out on Twitter and the Ladies Home Journal article, Ladies we Love. Joyce is also a sista’ to me on the Top 75 Badass Women of Twitter!  Please be sure and check out her blog, About Freaking Fitness

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  1. Eric D. Greene April 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Thank you for this post! Artists can so easily put health issues to the side. Now I want to read more of your advice. I particularly like the resistance ball suggestion. Thank you Lori and Joyce!

    • Lori McNee April 8, 2011 at 2:20 pm

      Hello Eric, thanks for sharing your comment. I appreciate the feedback. I am going to try the ball tip for my computer work!

      Take care-

  2. Joyce Cherrier April 10, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Glad you found the post helpful Eric! Thank you and thanks to Lori!

    • Lori McNee April 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Joyce, thanks again for such a fun and unique post on the Healthy Artist! I just bought a big resistance ball to sit on while I blog, since I have to sit a lot while on the computer these days. It was great having you!

      Happy spring-
      Lori 🙂

      • Joyce Cherrier April 11, 2011 at 8:07 pm

        Thanks for the honor of guest posting on your blog Lori! Love you got a ball~ Awesome! Love to hear what you think of it!

  3. Sue Pownall May 1, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Thank you for this article. Currently, I am sat at my computer catching up on blogs, tweets, FB etc before continuing drawing on my WIP, munching chips and have not moved in hours (I think). Only redeeming factor is I’m sipping a large glass of water.

    Time to change position, find something healthy to eat, and do some exercise. Thank you.

  4. Rebekka Lewin February 1, 2012 at 4:38 am

    15 mins of Pilates every day creates room for new thinking and creativity. I love it!!
    Thank you for a great post about the unique topic – combination of art and health.

    • Lori McNee February 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

      A great addition Rebekka. Thanks for stopping by. I am glad you enjoyed this post.


  5. Michelle June 28, 2012 at 9:43 am

    This is a great article, Lori! I battle w/ fibro. but I found that not moving enough, sitting too long or standing in one position makes fibro worse, not better. I just have to be aware of my body’s needs.

    One thing I have done is create a stand-up workstation so that I can better discipline myself in being efficient with my computer time. Since it is painful to stand too long in one position, I have to work quicker.

    (Admittingly I am not using it now since I am resting from a brisk walk I took earlier! -Even that can do a person in for a while who has fibro or other health issues! But some daily exercise is needful, despite the pain or fatigue it may bring!)

    I love getting all your tweets now in my Twitter stream, since I have backed out of looking at my blog reader on a regular basis until I finish getting my site up and running again!

  6. Sandy ASkey-Adams, PSA July 7, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Oh my gosh, thank you Lori so much for this article… and for also posting Joyce Cherries advice.

    I have been struggling with some health issues. This article is a great reminder that we have to stop and take care of our health also. We can get so busy with our art, and over-do which is why I am going through what I am going through at this time.

    Thank you again.

    • Lori McNee July 28, 2012 at 1:14 am

      Hello Sandy, it’s fun to see you here. I am glad Joyce’s tips are helpful to you. She is a great inspiration and we are lucky she shared some useful ideas for artists.

  7. Tania October 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Hi Lori,
    Thanks so much for this article it’s just what I needed. You got me thinking, I mean really thinking. I sit either at the easel, computer or watching tv, not much activity there. So, last week I started going to the local pool and started swimming laps, I do feel so much better for it. Thanks to both you and Joyce.


    • Lori McNee November 19, 2012 at 11:36 am

      So happy this helped you Tania! Good for you…take care of yourself and it will improve your art too!


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