Centuries ago, the Western culture lost its focus on the interconnectedness between the body and the mind or spirit, and how each has the power to affect the other. Cultivating a love of movement can help you get beyond the concept of physical fitness as separate from mental fitness – and toward a lifelong program of good health through mind and body fitness.
Whether you choose karate or another form of movement for exercise, remember that our bodies are made to move to feel good. So when you incorporate regular activity in your life, you’re moving closer to overall mind and body fitness. But if you are overweight, this can be more difficult. You can improve your mind-body connection for better mind and body fitness – it’s just important to choose realistic fitness options.
You might consider redefining exercise as any activity that unites your mind and body and reduces your stress level. In fact, high levels of stress have been linked to weight gain, and certainly can lead to emotional eating. Finding activities that are both enjoyable and easy to do is important when developing any type of exercise plan.
It’s important to be realistic about what we expect from ourselves. Consider your goals. Is 30 to 60 minutes on a treadmill a reasonable time frame at this point in your life? Are you setting yourself up for failure or success when you create this expectation for yourself? Would it be more enjoyable to you to do some stretching and a shorter period of time on the treadmill?
Developing an exercise plan that fits your lifestyle and your desires is critical. Surprisingly, long-term weight loss is linked more closely to whether a person sticks to their fitness routine than to what that routine actually consists of. A routine that is gentle and pleasurable is more likely to lead to the long-term gains you are seeking.
It is also important to tailor your fitness goals to your preferences. Some people like the idea of getting out of the house in the evening and going to the gym. Others prefer staying home and doing a quieter exercise routine after the demands of a stressful day. Either approach or a combination of the two, can result in improved mind and body fitness.
What is critical is for you to come to know yourself and to take yourself seriously. If you like to be home in the evenings, find things to do in your home or consider an occasional walk with friends or family. If you crave the company of others, head for the gym. Think about what would please you most, and follow your inner voice.
Remember that fitness of mind and body belong together, and that exercise is very narrowly defined in our society. So redefine exercise as any activity that reduces stress and connects your mind and body. You’ll be more likely to continue your exercise plan and achieve the outcome you’re looking for.
To learn more and practice about the connection between the mind and body fitness, visit The Winged Dragon Martial and Healing Arts School.