I absolutely believe in the famous Latin quotation: “mens sana in corpore sano” (a healthy mind in a healthy body).
Without being obsessive, I have – over the past few months – tried to make some small daily changes to my life to ensure that indeed I do have a healthy mind in a healthy body.
Over time, I have realised something which seems quite obvious, but that I had to experiment on myself to realise how important it is: physical activity makes me feel happier. Once I overcome the laziness of getting out, maybe in the cold, wind or rain, I know that a 30-minutes run with my favourite music will make me smile and give me lots of positive energy. I usually run about 2-3 times a week, and, after running, I do some other exercises that I choose depending on what I feel like doing. I have in the past tried sticking to a more rigid training schedule, but I found that it absolutely does not work for me. My studies and work are stressful enough and full of strict deadlines, that I cannot take the pressure of self-imposing extra-duties on myself in my spare time.
My philosophy during my workouts is that I do what I feel like doing. I push myself only to the extent that I will always stick to 30 minutes running, no matter whether one day I go a bit more slowly or interrupt the running with brisk walking a few too many times and do an overall workout of about one hour. I don’t care, I know it’s still healthy and making me feel better. I don’t care what people may say or think. This is only about me. I don’t set goals for running, because I am not doing it to become a marathon runner or a model. I just want to feel healthy and happy! This approach has actually made me fitter, I have lost some weight and I feel happier with my body. I have also definitely improved my resistance over the months, but in a way which was not planned methodically and therefore has felt like less of an effort.
I can say that I have achieved my 2011 goal of taking up running, which is something I feel very proud of. You can read about my 2011 resolution here: I did not follow the Couch to 5 K NHS programme for long, because I didn’t like the music. However, it inspired me and it helped me to understand how to run so now I do a similar workout to my own music which I update often to make sure I don’t get bored! Also, I have had a couple of long breaks from running due to colds, flu or simply ridiculous amounts of workload. But overall I can say I’ve been sticking to the plan!
My other philosophy of healthy mind in a healthy body is that I aim to go to bed as early as possible, at the latest by midnight. I have stopped studying late at night and I try my very best not to study after dinner. This is not because I have no more work to do, but because I can see that when I spend the night over my books, I feel unwell and I don’t sleep properly. I end up having a bad night and the following day not being at my best for more studying. Clearly, I am not the only one to believe this and it is scientifically proven that sleep is the best way to recharge your body. My best advocacy performances have been after a good night sleep and less hours of preparation. So I will try to stick to this and, before my exam on Friday, I will make sure I go to bed and sleep really well.
“Riposarsi è giusto” means that ” It is Right to Rest”. I have actually just Googled the author’s name and discovered that the original title of the book is “The Power of Rest”. I have also found out that Matthew Edlund is a doctor and writes a blog on WordPress with very interesting and thought-provoking articles: http://www.therestdoctor.com/, definitely recommended! I have not read the book, by the way, but thought the title reflected the topic of this post.
Now, I’d better stick to my plan and go to bed!