A Healthy Body Makes  For A Healthy Mind

A Healthy Body Makes For A Healthy Mind

sandy-cox
SJ is part of a local writers group in Senoia that meets the third Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. at the Senoia Library.  You can also follow more of her writing at creativejuices-sjcox.tumblr.com.

Previous to Thanksgiving I spoke to several of my friends who were planning on getting up at the crack of dawn the next day to go Black Friday shopping to get all the good deals. After the crazy shopping affair was over, my friends filled me in on how stressful the whole thing was. Reflecting on the craziness of it all, they vowed never to do it again. I vowed that very same thing many years ago. I just can’t stand the stress of the rushing during the holiday season. It just proves to me that our society as a whole is too stressed and strung out over the silliest of things. We each need to find our individual Zen so we can just relax a little.
The definition of Zen: a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being and also a state of mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by your own thoughts. I find that with the world moving a million miles an hour it is very hard to empty your mind and just let a sense of calm come over you. It seems like something I have to fit into my busy schedule, defeating the purpose all together. This works me up all the more.
At my last doctor’s visit, it was suggested that I get into an exercise routine in order to help reduce my stress levels, relieve my joint pain, and also to lose the few extra pounds that have been creeping up on me. He suggested a non-impact exercise such as swimming. Now anyone who knows me knows that I am not a workout person whatsoever. In fact, the idea of working myself into a healthy lather of dripping sweat does not appeal to me at all, but the idea of slipping into a cool, wet pool splashing about seemed a bit refreshing.
A bit hesitant, I got up early and gathered my swimming attire, stuffed it into a bag and headed to the gym. Once dressed in my bathing suit, a towel wrapped around my waist and flip flops on my feet, I took a deep breath and left the locker room and headed into the pool area.  Dropping my towel poolside, I slipped into the cool water and quickly submersed myself and then all was lost. The water surrounded me like a comfortable wet hug, drowning out all sound. I could have stayed there forever if it hadn’t been for lack of air.
Coming up for air, I started into a methodical stride of swimming laps. The nice even strokes and the splashing as my hands and feet left the water and came back down rapidly made me completely zone out. Everything left my brain, all my worries were gone. Before long I had completed my swimming routine and decided to get out and slip into the luxurious looking hot tub that sat a few feet away. I thought that nothing could top this wonderful feeling of calm. Boy was I was wrong.
The hot tub was bubbling with rolling bubbles coming from the jets. Putting my back against the wall, I got a wonderful massage on my back and shoulders. Safety says you are only supposed to sit in a hot tub for no more than fifteen minutes at a time, so I reluctantly got out and dried off. I took a deep breath and exhaled, finally feeling fully relaxed and good. All my stress was gone. Once again I thought nothing could get better, until I entered the locker room and saw the nice warm Sauna just steaming away. I figured this would be a good way to dry off and cleanse my pores before getting dressed and it would also be a great way to end my workout.
Stretching out my towel on the wooden bench, I lay down and took a deep breath, inhaling the dry steam and realizing the past hour had been one of the greatest, relaxing hours I had experienced in quite a long time. When I stepped out of the dry steam, the cool air closed up my pores again and I quickly went to get showered and dressed. As I was dressing to head back to my daily life, I realized for once that my doctor wasn’t wrong.A healthy body makes for a healthy mind. Who knew that exercise could be so calming?