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Hit the ground running

One of the joys – and challenges – of being a freelance translator is the ability to manage our day as we see fit. Once translation delivery deadlines are being met, we are free to decide our priorities for the day and set our own routine.

Although it can sometimes be hard to find the motivation, I find that there is no better way to start my day than with a run around my local park. Translation is a cognitively demanding, desk-bound job that does the body no favours. It is a profession that offers little physical movement while demanding discipline, concentration and more than a little creativity – it exercises the brain but not the body. It is well known that a largely sedentary lifestyle brings long-term cardiovascular risk.

I believe that all self-employed translators should make the effort to include physical exercise in their daily routine. Running offers particular advantages, but any form of regular activity that raises your heart rate will do you good. Not convinced? Consider this:

  • As a freelancer, you probably work from home. You don’t have to walk to work. You probably drive to the supermarket, or to collect your children from school. So getting active requires a conscious effort. If you don’t make the effort, it won’t happen!
  • You may be saving to fund your retirement, but have you considered what your quality of life will be in old age? Daily exercise represents a long-term investment in your health, in addition to bringing short-term health benefits. Regular exercise reduces your resting heart rate and strengthens the cardiovascular system, dramatically reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s also good for your muscles and bones.
  • In Ireland, where I live, six in ten adults are overweight or obese. Obesity is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Regular exercise increases your metabolic rate, burning more calories and helping you to manage your weight.
  • The increased blood flow to the brain from exercise improves concentration, motivation, memory, and mood – all essential for busy translators!
  • You don’t have to commit a lot of time to your exercise routine. Just 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, will do the trick. You probably spend far more time than this on social media.
  • If you run, as I do, all you need is a pair of runners and motivation. There’s no need to pay gym fees or buy expensive equipment!
  • The benefits of exercise linger long after you’ve recovered your breath. The body’s physiological adaptations continue even as you sleep.

So why not get out of the house at the start of your day and hit the ground running? Your head and heart will thank you for the effort. Before you invest time in your business, it’s important to invest time in yourself.