A moving tale – as told by “Uncle” Norman
It goes without saying that the Roman poet, Decimus Junius Juvenalis, meant well and obviously had other preoccupations when he coined the famous phrase “Orandum est ut sit mens sana in corpore sano” – meaning that “you should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body”. Nonetheless, it would serve our narrative well if you were to interpret this motto in keeping with John Hulley’s distortion thereof: that physical activity/exercise is an important and essential part of mental and psychological well-being.
Young or old, Olympian or not, we should all be enjoying the benefits of physical activity/exercise. Whether you are involved in exercise programmes as a means to an end or an end in itself, is neither here nor there. What matters is that we should all be engaging in some form of structured or intentional physical activity. The chosen/prescribed activities can be performed at a variety of intensity levels, ranging between light, moderate and high/vigorous levels. How hard you push yourself really depends on your goals, experience, motivation or fitness level. (Or just listen to your body. It will tell you…immediately or the morning after).
What is known, is that physical activity/exercise creates a self-reinforcing cycle of extraordinary benefits for the wellbeing of those who dare to try it – and even more so for children. Active children’s brains work better, making it easier for them to learn. At the same time, they develop better attitudes about school and the improvements in their psychosocial health creates a better mind-set for learning.
By the way, the research has already been done. When children are given the opportunity to be regularly active in school, behaviour, attention, attendance and academic performance often improve. What’s more is that in the future, these children are more likely to have better income prospects, improved physical and mental health and higher productivity.
So MOVE, and play your part.