A definite relationship has been found between physical fitness and mental alertness and emotional stability…improved endurance performance makes the body less susceptible to fatigue, and so less likely to commit errors, mental or physical. – Dr. Kenneth Cooper, US Airforce School of Aerospace Medicine
We have a body. We have a mind. Both influence each other. A better body leads to a better mind and vice-versa.
Physical fitness, as Tony Buzan says, involves four aspects:
- Aerobic training and fitness
Poise: Poise is the perfect balance of the body, in which all aspects of your muscular, organic and skeletal systems are properly aligned. The relative positioning of your head, neck, spine and joints is particularly important. It means having a good posture. A bad posture affects your lungs, heart, nerves, muscles and internal organs.
- How to develop poise?
1. Use this checklist:
- Whole body:Am I slouching?
- Head: Am I pulling my head back/slumping it forward?
- Neck: Am I stiffening my neck?
- Shoulders: Am I raising my shoulders unnecessarily?
- Breathing: Is my breathing deep, free and rhythmical or shallow, gasping and I hold my breath?
- Back: Am I pushing the small of my back in?
- Hips: Am I thrusting my hips forward?
- Joints: Am I locking any joints?
2. Use the TEFCAS method as you go through the above check list.
3. Consider taking up a ‘good poise hobby’ like the Alexander technique.
Aerobic exercise: Aerobic exercise is any exercise that stimulates heart and lung activity for time period sufficiently long to produce significant and beneficial changes in the body. It strengthens your heart and lung and increases oxygen supply to your body.
- The Aerobic formula: Exercise 4 times a week, for a minimum of 30 minutes at a time. Each session should start with a 5 minute warm up, 20 minutes exercise and 5 minute cool down.
Flexibility: Flexibility refers to the ability of your body’s joints to move freely in all the directions for which they were designed. Stretching exercises can help you achieve this.
- Stretching in all directions is a simple way of doing this or else you can use the flexibility exercises shown here.
Strength training: Muscular strength is the ability of all your muscles and muscle systems to lift, pull, push and rotate.
- Ideally you need to take muscle building exercises four times a week for 20-60 minutes. Super all round exercises for strength training are swimming, running, walking, rowing and dancing.
So if you incorporate good poise, stretching, aerobics and strengthening exercises, you will be on the path to developing strong physical and mental fitness.