Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Mind Comes First

Fitness is usually equated with having muscle tone and having little excess body fat, but everything starts in the mind. When exercise is a mundane drudgery that we must struggle with ourselves to do, we eventually end up simply not doing it. Truly we must find something active where our mind is not our stumbling block.

We are social creatures, and exercise in a social setting meets with far less mental objections. As the responsibilities of life edge out our past involvement in team sports, when school doesn't create an impetus to be involved in physical activity, it becomes our responsibility to create a replacement where activity and fun can coexist. Solitary exercise programs can be boring and lacking feedback from peers have nothing external to our own willpower to drive us to continue, or even to get started.  When there is no competitive goal to kick our minds out of a complacent zone where our priorities are dictated by our immediate needs and the demands of our economic endeavors, we end up where most Americans end up, and our physical health takes a back seat. This is my struggle, and I think it is the usual story.

I'm impressed by some of the solutions that have recently emerged. Some of my friends have become involved in the Team Beachbody network where the members encourage each other to follow through. This added social element feeds the mind and adds a club like aspect that changes the entire dynamic of motivating ourselves to do what needs to be done to regain our physical vitality. The bottom line is that the mind must be properly primed before the body will cooperate.

In my aria we are fortunate enough to have places to hike, swim, go horseback riding and nearby skiing arias. Even getting out on a motorcycle or a snowmobile can shake us out of that sedentary rut and get the blood pumping faster. Personally, I'd like to see more team sports being organized, even if it's just a informal Saturday afternoon volleyball game. Getting the fun back in being active should be a goal. It's a matter of priorities, and society implicitly places recreation at the bottom of the list. Physical activity should be at the top of the list since our bodies are our interface with the world, and their reduced vitality carries a corresponding loss of living itself.

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