“Sex and the City” author Candace Bushnell, in L.A. to promote her book “Killing Monica” (which she swears isn’t about Carrie Bradshaw), shares tips for physical and mental fitness that help keep her away from the chaos and ahead of the pack.
You’re really prolific. We hear so much lately about how sitting all day is bad for you. How do you stay healthy when you’re writing?
I started standing. I put my big computer on my kitchen counter because that’s the only thing that’s high enough but I have to tell you I’ve been doing it for maybe six weeks and it’s made such a huge difference.... I actually lost a couple of pounds just standing. I never really cared that much about my chair … but I found out I’ve actually been working on a chair that was too low for the desk. That’s when I started getting a lot of shoulder and elbow issues with pain in my arm, so I changed that and now I started doing this standing thing.... As a writer I’ve had so many years of being hunched over the computer and my back muscles are stretched and my chest muscles are very tight and that constant sitting over the computer is terrible for the posture.
How do you fit fitness into your day?
I don’t go to the gym; I do only outdoor sports kinds of things. I will walk, I ride my mountain bike, I have a horse — horseback riding is incredible exercise — I have a little mini-trampoline and a tumbling mat. I will cross-country ski in the winter and swim in the summer. I have a pool — I grew up in Connecticut and we grew up doing all of that stuff. We’re always, always, always active.... I get a lot of ideas when I’m walking. In fact, when I’m working, I’m pacing. So, for me, you know, when you’re writing — you need to think about it a little bit. Normally, I find when I’m moving, that is when I get my ideas.
Do you write differently in the peace and quiet of your Connecticut home than you do in New York City?
What I write probably isn’t any different depending on where I’m writing it. It’s just so much easier to have much better concentration where I am.... I find nature very soothing. And I always have ever since I was a kid. I absolutely love it.
There are popular fitness classes now in New York that emphasize practices like repeating affirmations. Have New Yorkers embraced what used to be thought of as L.A.-speak? If so, does this surprise you?
I think people associated those things with L.A. so long ago. That feels like a very ‘80s thing. It feels like a Woody Allen kind of perspective about the West Coast and people being so much more health-conscious. People want to improve themselves so it doesn’t surprise me. Meditation has become very big and it’s all about being a better you. People love it.... I just can’t do that kind of exercise. When I’m riding on my bike I’m always trying to push it physically … and I’m always doing things to improve my balance.
You’ve talked about the pressures on women over 40. How do you see women handling what can feel like pressure to keep up physically?
For me, and I’ve noticed this with a lot of my friends, it’s really the 50s. When you get into the 50s that’s when you have to exercise and it’s really just about feeling better, energetic, and it’s driven by health. And I have to say it is hard. It’s hard to find the time to exercise. There’s no way around it so I try to make it more enticing by doing [physical activity] that I love.