The Importance of Physical Fitness in Mental Performance | Characteristics



Prototype of an off-grid house using human energy, by the Spanish architectural firm Elii

We talked about burnout, fatigue and overwork, all of which weigh on the mind. But how do you increase mental stamina, counteracting this effect? When all of our efforts to be effective time managers are overwhelmed by a long day at work, we will need that extra bandwidth for peak focus and performance. If our physical form is lacking, so will our mental form. Intellectual execution tends to be a priority for most creative professionals and by achieving this desire one would do well to embrace the well-being of their physical body. After all, it’s what houses your most precious possession: your brain. Let’s look at some ways this relationship manifests in us.

Pre-presidential rigor

When Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was a little boy, he suffered from relentless asthma. He was extremely small and often sickly. The young boy developed an intense love for reading and natural history and quickly became a recognized intellectual among his family and friends. But, his diligent reading was often interrupted by intense episodes of asthmatic disturbance. The boy would have to sit overnight for a decent sleep and despite his love of the outdoors, he didn’t look like he was getting any better.

… you have the spirit but you do not have the body, and without the help of the body the spirit cannot go as far as it should. You have to Make your body.

One day, as Roosevelt approached his thirteenth birthday, his father came to see him after receiving a negative report from the family doctor and said to him: “… you have the spirit but you do not have the body, and without the help of the body, the mind cannot go as far as it should. You have to Make your body. It’s a tough chore to do your body, but I know you will. Young Roosevelt embraced his father’s decree. From that moment he would kiss the hard life, in all his free time, the boy began to “shape his body”, diligently exercising in the home gym.

Small but strong

The future president grew older and stronger, but still had a childish appearance. One of his Harvard colleagues, Richard Welling, described his first impression of Roosevelt as “a young, developing kindergarten child.” But, one winter night, the two went skating and the classmate quickly changed his mind about Theodore. Welling said the winds were so raging and the ice so rough that “when any sane man voted to go home,” Roosevelt exclaimed how wonderful he was having a time. It wasn’t until after three hours of punishment that Roosevelt was finally ready to go, but only because it “was starting to get dark.”

“I remember my numb fingers grabbing my room key and unable to turn the lock. This so-called sports afternoon made me realize Roosevelt’s incredible vitality, ”Welling recalls. The sickly child had grown into a formidable young man, but he still had work to do. In 1880, the year of his graduation, Roosevelt underwent a complete physical exam and was told his heart was in danger, that he should choose a “sedentary occupation” and relax, otherwise he would not live. long time. “Doctor, I’m going to do all the things you tell me not to do.” If I’m going to live the kind of life you described, I don’t care how short it is, ”he replied.

Theodore Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States. He was a prolific writer, naturalist and leader of the famous Riders. His physical and mental prowess was unmatched and even in his mid-fifties, the famous politician embarked on a two-year expedition through the Amazon basin, a feat few could have achieved. Eventually, Roosevelt died of lung problems, but, at the age of 60, he lived a life, larger than his former academic doctor, and most people for that matter, could have imagined.

Exercise and cognition

In one American scientist article titled, How exercise is beneficial for cognition, Professor David R. Jacobs of the University of Minnesota and researcher Na Zhu, discuss the inseparable similarities between mind and body. “First, to maintain normal cognitive function, the brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and other chemicals, delivered by its abundant blood vessels. Exercise … helps efficiently circulate nutrient-rich blood throughout the body and keeps blood vessels healthy, ”they write. At a fundamental level, we need to make sure that we are getting enough air, which can be achieved through regular aerobic activities such as jogging, walking, cycling, and many sports.

We have found that physical activity has a broad and lasting influence on cognitive performance

“We have found that physical activity has a broad and lasting influence on cognitive performance,” both said. While aerobic exercise allows the brain to access more oxygen, anaerobic exercise, like weight lifting, also appears to produce positive effects on the body. Ultimately, it’s consistency that develops lasting influence. Our physical form is an essential part of dexterous brain performance, chronic exercise can provide it to the diligent individual.

Even chess masters need good physical condition

Current world chess champion Magnus Carlsen is well known for his relentless stamina on the chessboard. He tends to choose complex variations that force his older opponents to focus deeply over long periods of time. Sure, that’s a normal part of a chess competition, but after, say, six hours of complex analysis and problem-solving, intense fatigue begins to set in. “Carlsen succeeds because of his physical condition and his ability to avoid psychological failures, which allows him to maintain a high level of play over long games when the energy level of others drops,” said the grandmaster and former world chess champion, Vladimir Kramnik.

Carlsen is successful because of his physical condition and ability to avoid psychological failures

Carlsen trains with Lithuania-based chess coach Peter Heine Nielsen. “My goal is to get Magnus in the best mental and physical condition possible before big tournaments,” said the coach. He continued to emphasize, in a the Wall Street newspaper interview that diet, rest and exercise are a big part of that goal besides making sure Carlsen has fun in order to keep the pressure off. His physical prowess is an essential component of his overall winning strategy, even though his sport of choice is (apparently) entirely mental.

Maintain the brain

In previous articles, we’ve explored the intricacies of overwork, examining burnout, fatigue, and the need to detach psychologically from our workplace throughout the day. These give us all insight into tackling the pressures prevalent in architecture and have served as an informative and preventative insight.

But, if optimal intellectual performance is central to our concerns, then the physical form of the anatomy that contains the brain is crucial to our idealized performance. Whether it’s a brisk walk or a strenuous circuit, putting the emphasis on the physical well-being of our mind and body can only produce positive results in our working life, and more importantly, our life. personal. Architecture requires deep mental focus, fluidity and focus. Let’s nurture our brains and take control of our health, introducing exercises that can propel us forward in our intellectual endeavors.

Whether it’s a future president, a chess master or an architect, seeing ourselves as holistic beings, made up of mind and body, will help us make decisions that will allow us to achieve what we are striving to achieve.



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