Why A Healthy Body Means A Healthy Mind

Since time immemorial, great civilizations have discovered and utilised the link between physical fitness and clarity of being. In the ancient civilizations of India, Greece and Rome physical fitness was given the highest importance – our title is in fact derived from the old Latin saying “mens sana in corpore sano“. This connection works on multiple levels and being aware of each aspect can really motivate you to have a fitness regimen as an integral part of your practice of self-improvement.

1. (The obvious one) Stress relief

During the day all the annoyances and troubles of the day slowly build up in our nervous system, turning us into the human equivalent of pressure cooker! But when we do some physical exercise, all that stored up energy suddenly finds a channel through which it can operate. So when you finish, not only do you have that feel-good physical factor, but also an enhanced sense of mental clarity.

2. Shake off lethargy

Often (especially if we have slept too much) we arise with a feeling of lethargy and sluggishness which can impair our effectiveness during the day. That’s why a run first thing in the morning works wonders in shaking off that half-asleep feeling. In fact, next time you get up and are tempted to go back to bed for a little while, try doing some exercise instead – you’ll be surprised how alert you feel at the end, and you will wonder where all that tiredness you had this morning went!

3. A feeling of accomplishment

In my vegetative college years, I would have days that just seemed to slip by without me really being able to put my mark on them, and I would go to bed with a feeling of disappointment and not being able to accomplish something meaningful during the day. However, when I started running early in the morning, things changed – I would meditate as soon as I got up, and then go out for a run and watch the sunrise. This meant that when I sat down for my breakfast, it was not even nine o’clock and already two things were accomplished. And when two things were done, it was then much easier to do a third, and then a fourth…in other words it helped to generate a momentum which persisted throughout the day.

4. Going beyond

We all know that deep inside us there is boundless inner potential waiting to be fulfilled. One way which many people tap into this infinite potential is through sports. Through sports, you gain access to a sense of joy and fulfillment that comes from transcending your own finite capacities. In a way, aiming to better your capacities through sports has a lot of similarities to meditation. As you near the limit of your capacity, you find that it is in fact your mind and its negative thoughts which often stands in the way of you going beyond. And so to really transcend yourself, you also have to go beyond the mind, just like meditation – and when you do you can get some very insightful meditative experiences. I do quite a lot of long distance running, and challenging myself through participating in marathons and other long distance events has given me some profound inner insights in to the deeper part of my nature.

(Photo: I couldn’t resist this one -This is actually my younger brother Colm running with the torch of the World Harmony Run, the world’s largest global relay for peace. This year, Colm was part of an international team which circumnavigated the entire continent of Australia. )

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11 Responses to Why A Healthy Body Means A Healthy Mind

  1. AJS September 14, 2008 at 1:58 pm #

    I’ve always been eager to wake up early in the morning, but as I am in high school, I end up going to sleep at around 2 (lots of work & procrastination :-)). Regardless of whether I went to sleep earlier, I’d be unsure if I wanted to expend so much energy before even starting 8 hours of school.
    I’ve heard that waking up & exercising earlier actually gives you more energy throughout the day and gets you better sleep by night, but I’m apprehensive to try it while school’s going on.
    What do you think? Think it’s worth it? Think I should give it a go?

  2. CIC May 2, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    This website has helped me a lot because I had to do an essay about how a healthy body equals a healthy mind. I used this website a lot and I hope I get a good grade!

  3. dhananjay December 30, 2010 at 8:39 am #

    awesome

  4. the lomo January 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    Great piece, especially the last two points which have a real resonance with me. I’m still striving to further my own experience of the fourth point, but it is good to know that other people also see its reality.

  5. Vijeta September 10, 2011 at 11:55 am #

    Amazing pieces of thought That can help me in becoming a better person…………

  6. danierrrr January 8, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    this helps and i will totally try it, also im am too writing an essay about mind and body i will definitly use this

  7. grstudent February 1, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    fabulous !!!

  8. Crazy Dude March 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    This is awesome!

  9. Mark May 24, 2012 at 1:06 am #

    Amazing piece. Thank you :)

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