“Mind, body, and soul” is a common mantra in a lot of fields, but fitness is probably the one where it’s repeated the most. Trainers and wellness specialists will be the first to say that our training isn’t all physical, and our health isn’t just our body. We need to train our minds, to balance our spirit, as it were.
We’re not going to broach the religious interpretation of soul or spirit here. When we say soul or spirit, let’s just consider that to be our emotional center and our subconscious. Many believe this springs from the classical definition of soul, so either way, we feel that it fits.
“Mind, body, and soul” really does describe the three key components of any living person. They’re equally important not just in defining who we are, but living a full, mostly happy, and hopefully long life. Anyone who has suffered from depression or some sort of mental dysphoria can vouch that, healthy as your body may be, you still feel terrible. In fact, depression can make you feel physically unwell if it goes on long enough. This is true even if you still take efforts to maintain your body during that time.
It’s easy to think that mind and soul, in a strictly secular context, are really one and the same, but honestly, we beg to differ. Mental health and clarity of focus can exist in spite of emotional imbalance and vice versa, albeit one tends to cause mishaps with the other just as they do the body. Conversely, poor body health can impact them just as equally.
So, how exactly do the mind and spirit impact your health and your workout?
This is probably the most obvious one. Clarity of mind and an optimistic spirit are pretty necessary to facilitate your workout. Many people lose heart, and this costs their grip on the goal and the determination to get there.
Depression or a cluttered mind can also impact your energy, which means your stamina and endurance will suffer significantly for it as well. Again, this is the most obvious one, but it’s far from the only one.
This one merits some more in-depth exploration. Physical fitness requires good habits and something of a disciplined lifestyle. This lifestyle isn’t always an easy thing for people to adopt. Many people have a hard time adjusting to a regimented lifestyle like this. Keeping schedules of when to get up, when to rest, when to exercise, what to eat, and so on requires a lot of dedication.
There are also many people who thrive on the discipline and regimented lifestyle. If you’re not predisposed to this, don’t let that stop you – balanced mental and emotional thinking can actually be conducive to physical regimenting as well.
Many people have found meditation exercises and practices like yoga to be excellent ways to center their minds. They help to decrease that mental distress that the regimented lifestyle (especially mornings for people who are not morning people) can cause. These exercises also have a direct biological benefit, because they produce endorphins and serotonin, two essential chemicals that promote joy, happiness, and serenity. Given the associative nature of the brain overall, regularly practicing serenity and mood-boosting techniques in the face of something you would otherwise consider a struggle can gradually eat away at your dislike for these things, and help you to achieve peace.
But What About My Workout?
We’ve talked about how the mental aspect of fitness allows you to stay more balanced, and how it can keep you more focused on the goals. However, the real question is, can this benefit your workout directly? And what are the best ways to use psychology and spiritual caretaking to achieve it if this is the case?
Taking mind and spirit-positive actions before and during a workout will improve your mood, boost your energy, and give you a more positive attitude. This is especially helpful when you hit the wall – a common occurrence where our bodies try to give out before we’re done. If we’re not in a positive mood when we hit this wall, we often give in to it.
This positive mood also decreases stress, which is energy-draining in and of itself. Thus, your body will perform at optimal capacity during the workout if you’ve evened out your mood and cleared your mind. How do we achieve this, though?
As we mentioned before, one common practice for preparation is yoga or meditation, the former of which also doubles as an excellent stretching routine. Stretching is something you really should do before working out anyway. Tai Chi is a similarly great workout that’s also keyed to help balance mood and clear the mind. It is also a bit less challenging to get a handle on (yoga isn’t for everyone).
However, this can also be done by playing motivating music during your workout. Play anything that lifts your spirits, lets your mind free itself of distractions, or just gets your blood pumping. Group workouts with friends, which brings an element of socializing, of comradery and mutual goals is also an ever-increasingly popular way to achieve this. You can also motivate each other, and commiserate when you’re sore and tired after this workout.
Your environment can also play a key role in mental and spiritual relaxation. Many people find places like gardens, forests, or other tranquil areas excellent for staying in a positive mood during your workout, compared to a gym or your garage.
Your mental and spiritual health matter, and they do have direct impacts on physical health and physical training. To neglect these is pure folly. To learn more about balanced health for all three of these things, why not go ahead and follow us on Facebook?