For several years now ‘fitness’ has largely been concentrated on the body as opposed to the mind, being used as a tool to lose weight, to build muscle or to achieve a physical goal such as running a 10Km. Thank goodness that this is now changing. With the rise in mental health awareness, the link between the body and mind is finally starting to be taken more seriously, and fitness is no longer just about the body but about maintaining a healthy mind too.
What should come first, a healthy mind or healthy body? I believe this is an impossible question, as actually they are so closely connected I feel confident in saying that it’s impossible to have one without the other. Your mind is part of your body, and your body is part of your mind – how many times have you felt euphoric in mind after completing a long run or a hard workout? How often have you suffered a crippling headache when something has been seriously troubling you? There are many examples I could give but the point is we need to be paying attention to, and taking care of, our bodies and minds in synergy.
This isn’t always easy to do, and there’s not one method which is a magic key to achieve optimal physical and mental health, however thankfully the options are starting to increase in terms of methods for improving the fitness of both the body and the mind (Refuel of course being one of these!).
What is vitally important is enjoyment. Because fitness has been so focused on the body this has often led to a lack of enjoyment, as we struggle to meet body goals with limited time, which in turn has led to frustrated and unhappy minds. Meditation can be a great healer of the mind, but what if you’re someone who loves and needs the physical exertion, which sitting quietly, and even yoga on its own, doesn’t provide?
Enjoyment over the long term therefore needs to be considered, not just the short term – you may enjoy pushing yourself to the limit five days a week but at some point, the stress you are putting yourself through may lead to negative consequences on the body and mind. Balance is needed. A balance between exertion and relaxation, a balance between fast and slow pace, a balance between the work the mind and the body are carrying out.
Each Refuel session looks to provide this balance – encouraging mindful exercise, utilising not just one but a number of fitness techniques, and allowing people to experience and discover music – which has been proven to have a number of positive effects on both body and mind – in its purest form.
Let’s no longer think of body and mind as separate, but as interconnecting parts of ourselves which need taking care of together, for us to enjoy our lives and thrive.