Two words I love…family and health. We have an abundance of family, you might say, with ten kids plus some spouses and grandchildren. Everyone is active in his or her own way. In school and college the group ran the gamut of sports, e.g. soccer, rugby, track, cross-country, basketball, tennis, fencing, baseball, crew, band…yes, band. I’ve never seen the kind of change-the-shirt workout a band player endures during a gig (think independent alternative band) or a march (think 100 uniformed students high-stepping in formation in August Arizona heat).
Tomorrow, September 29th, is National Family Health and Fitness Day. The possibilities for physical activities that help one keep fit are endless. Here in Arizona they hold the Javalina Night Run this weekend, making use of the bright moonlight. Hopefully, they won’t actually run into a pack of javalinas (in the peccary family, with sharp tusks, bristly hide, and odoriferous in a way that only a fellow javalina can appreciate). They are cute because their tiny feet are completely out of scale with their portly bodies…speaking of javalinas, not runners.
All of these activities are accompanied by proper preparations. I was looking in The Arizona Republic’s section entitled, “Your Health”, at one conditioning regimen that alternated between gradual increases in run distances and strength training, which included squats, wood chops, bent rowing, horse-stance vertical and stability ball leg raises. That’s like a Julia Child recipe for physical activity, rather than the simple Fanny Farmer version of preparation. But either way, the focus seems to be on preparing the body to engage in activity.
When our kids participated in their sports, we worked not only on their physical preparedness as required by their teams and coaches, but on their mental readiness. I’m not speaking of a “winning attitude” sort of thing, for which they needed little further motivation than what the team provided. At home, we had them focus more along the lines of preparing their thoughts to expect healthy activity, without speculating on risks or possible injuries. They focused on expressing dominion over their body, enjoyment in giving their best, utilizing their talents and intelligence, regardless of their position or ranking in the group. They had fun. As it turned out, they were, in the main, injury-free over the thirty-five years we have watched and supported them.
Yes, there were a couple of breaks and bruises along the way. But the mental expectation of health, rather than risk and injury, kept the incidents to a minimum and the time of recovery brief. This is not random. We often discussed a statement found in a writing by the founder of Christian scientific mental healing, Mary Baker Eddy, which states “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts”.
So, as you head out with your family, friends, or solo, to participate in a joyously rigorous activity, along with the bodily preparations, give some thought to the dominion you will be expressing and hold to those good thoughts, and lay aside unneeded “what ifs” which come from focus on physique alone. But avoid the javalinas.