Train your body for kick-ass creativity
Ever considered how important physical fitness is for your creativity?
Ask your gym-junkie mates why they train. Mostly they’ll tell you it’s so they can eliminate love handles.
Or run that mini marathon next month. Or look ‘pumped’ and ‘shredded’.
These are valid enough reasons. But they are limited because they each relate to the physical. What about benefits to the mind?
The philosopher/life coach Socrates wrote about how to live a good life. He recognised the importance of physical exercise by training each day.
He also said this:
“No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training.”
Move over every badass gym trainer. This guy sounds hardcore.
Note again: he was a philosopher. And one of the most innovative and creative philosophers in the history of Western civilisation.
Now, I’m not sure about you, but I don’t often immediately associate philosophy with sweat and rippling muscles.
My point is Socrates was onto something. He knew the body is the receptacle of the mind. He also knew that the mind can only exist through the processes of the body.
Without getting too technical, the brain requires glucose. Glucose fuels the formation of neural connections that mediate thought and creativity.
If glucose gets out of balance or the metabolism goes nuts for some other reason, the result is a hazy mind fog that makes everyday decision making difficult.
That’s bad enough for the person who is not in a creative field.
“ No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. ”
But it is excruciating for the person who relies on higher-order thinking, idea generation and creativity.
Also, let’s consider this in terms of the pragmatics of making a living. Like me, many creatives work a few different jobs to keep the income flowing. Much contract work doesn’t offer sick pay.
The point is, regular exercise fortifies your body against infection and viruses.
So by keeping your body well-fed and exercised, you reduce the chances of getting sick. Which means you can meet deadlines and show up for work when you need to.
Final point. I’ve saved this for last. It relates to vibrancy.
You don’t train to run marathons. You train so that you are fit enough to avoid the dreaded lethargy.
Can you work a full day and still have energy? It’s important you answer ‘yes’ to this question.
Your mind needs energy so it can do its work of making connections and associations between seemingly disparate phenomena. The foundation of creativity is vibrancy.
If your body is fresh, your mind will be too.
So, get off the couch. Start a small exercise regime today. Baby steps. Just go for a walk for 30 minutes a day. Do it consistently. No excuses.
Prioritise exercise as you would a work commitment.
Because for a creative person, keeping your body in shape is as important as exercising your mind.