Do you want to live a healthy and vibrant life? You might think what a silly question to ask. But on a serious note, do you? Do you want to have a strong, flexible and agile body? My guess, the answer is 'YES'. So what does one have to do to you get there and hopefully stay there? Well, there is certainly a way! But there are few components that are very essential to this process. Let me talk to you about body intelligence. Psychologist Howard Gardner is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences. Body intelligence consists of: awareness, knowledge and engagement.
Consider the following example:
Joe is a typical type-A personality; ambitious, highly competitive, always rushing multi-tasker, who drives himself crazy with deadlines. He eats ok, makes it to the gym, walks to work. However, he’s got headaches, chronic muscular pain, neck tensions that don’t seem to want to go away. He constantly pushes beyond his threshold. Might sound familiar to some of you… How frequently do YOU experience aches and pain, hoping they will just go away? What kind of physical symptoms have you been living with for so long that you’re already used to them being there and think it’s somehow normal?
Let's look at all the components of body intelligence.
1. Body Awareness. It means being tuned into your body and the signals it’s sending you. It talks to you 24/7. It’s being aware of the impact daily practices have on you, be it certain type of foods, physical activities or lack thereof. The more aware you are of what’s happening with and to your body, the sooner you can make positive adjustments.
2. Knowledge. When I ask clients questions such as: Did you eat well? Did you stretch? Did you…. (fill in the blanks); Did you do anything else besides our workout? I might hear something like: “yes I walked few miles but I know I should have done more” or “I ate good breakfast but then I didn’t eat for 6 hours”. These statements reflect some generic knowledge of what one’s body needs. However, body knowledge is not just about acquiring volumes of knowledge. It is also about your ability to analyze the level of information that you can accurately interpret without consulting an expert.
3. Engagement. Let’s consider: Mrs. Smith is considering hiring a personal trainer. During the first consultation she says: I know I should be working out more, however I can never stick to it because I am too busy, too tired, too… (fill in the blanks), there is always something else more important etc. In this case, excuses reflect the knowledge, described symptoms reflect awareness. Disappearance after certain period of time, indicates that adherence (engagement) doesn’t come easily. This component is EXTREMELY important. Engagement means committing oneself to an intelligent action based on whatever needs you may have at this very moment in your life.
So as you see, all three components are essential and intimately intertwined. Now, that you know what body intelligence consists of, where do you slip up? And if you do, how fast do you get back on track? Where do you need to improve?