Holistic fitness is based on the premise that balance in life can serve as a gyroscope, bringing about equilibrium, wholeness, and vitality. The gyroscope, you will recall, consists of a wheel mounted in a ring so that its axis is free to turn in any direction. When the wheel is spun rapidly, it keeps its original plane of rotation, no matter which way the ring is turned. Historically, gyroscopes have been used as a way to keep moving ships, airplanes, and other large vessels level and stable. This same concept may be applied to holistic fitness.
Mental fitness is defined as a state of emotional and psychological wellbeing. Indicators of mental health can be seen in individuals who can use their cognitive and emotional capabilities effectively, to function in society, and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life. Like any other living organism, the mind requires nourishment, and feeding it may entail providing it with new input on a regular basis. Like a computer, the mind’s databases must occasionally be replenished with further information such as facts, reflections, music, creative writing, or visual images. To remain vibrant, this complex instrument also requires exercise through reading, life-long learning, and the introduction of new stimuli involving critical and complex thinking. Moreover, the mind functions best when it is in sync with the body and the spirit. From a transcendent standpoint, the renewing of the mind places one in a better position to discern moral and ethical distinctions in our complex world.
Keeping the body vibrant and free from disease is the goal of physical fitness. It entails freedom from illness and is accompanied by maintaining the ability to function efficiently and effectively, enjoy leisure, and cope with emergencies. Indicators of physical health include body composition, cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, neurological efficiency, muscular endurance, and muscle strength. People who are physically fit possess appropriate levels of agility, balance, coordination, power, reaction time, and speed. An excellent way to maintain physical wellbeing is to provide the body with exercise, nourishment, and balance. Information about how to do this is readily available. For example, physical wellbeing involves attending to the body’s physiological needs by getting regular health checkups, taking prescribed medicines, eating balanced meals, relaxing, and managing stress.
The human spirit is transcendent; that is, it goes beyond the limits of physical and psychological understanding. Many people tend to care for the mind and the body but neglect the “ethereal reality.” But how do we assess ethereal fitness? Just as the body can indicate emotional distress, our emotions can likewise give us clues to the sources of our ethereal unrest. Ethereal fitness demands exercise, nourishment, and balance just like the other two aspects of the human being. Our spirits are strengthened and liberated when we exercise regularly through meditation, reflection, journaling, and other acts of mindfulness. When we are ethereally fit, we can maintain balance in the face of mental and physical challenges. Exercising our ethereal muscles gives us stamina of a unique type. One source has noted ethereal wellbeing is evident in the person who finds meaning and purpose in life, and who operates from an intrinsic value system that guides both life and decisions. The following chart depicts my conceptualization of how dimensions of mind, body, and spirit are related.
Dimensions of Holistic Fitness
|Questions Addressed by Each Dimension||What do I know?
How do I know? How does knowing affect my behavior?
How does knowing affect my emotions?
|How do I feel?
Am I physically healthy?
Are all my bodily functions in a normal range?
|What do I intuit?
What value should I give to a thing?
What is the nature of my transcendent relationship with others?
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