When it comes to fitness and athletic performance, the ancient Greeks set the foundations for almost everything we’re doing today. These guys got it right. And not because they were trying to achieve chiseled six-packs or big bootys. They believed there was a greater reason to be physically fit: to achieve an overall better condition of body and mind. So let’s strip back all the fancy stuff that surrounds fitness and take it back to the basics. Here’s the underlying reason to bring your body to its peak performance and what we can learn from the oldest fitness tip in the book.
The mind-body harmony: A healthy body fosters a healthy mind
For the Greeks, fitness was not a lifestyle choice, it was a duty. They believed they owed it to their people and to themselves to lead a fit and healthy life. Worshipping the body as an essential pillar of a sound intellect was a key point of the Greek culture.
Plato might be one of the best examples who already defined the human need for training. According to him, there is a clear link between the body and the mind: Both are dependant and influence each other. In other terms, if you are mentally stressed or unhappy, this could have an impact on your physical capabilities and vice versa: if your body is in great shape, this positively influences your mental state and mood in general. He even went further and claimed that an individual had to train his body in order to develop intellectually. So it’s not without reason that Plato advocated mandatory physical activity in the young Greeks’ education.
Although “how” to get fit changes almost everyday and new trends, technologies and training methods can make fitness seem like an unachievable end goal, the reason to train remains the same. If in doubt, stick to simplicity. Do as the Greeks did and just focus your training on becoming the strongest you possibly can, both physically and mentally.