Nimble, In Body And Mind

Agile (/ˈadʒʌɪl/)- adjective – able to move quickly and easily

Physical agility is synonymous with being nimble, lithe, spry, supple, limber, sprightly, dexterous, deftnimble-footed, light, fleet-footed, twinkle-toed.

Mental agility is characterized by being alert, sharp, acute, astute, quick-witted, perceptive, rapier-like, quick off the mark.

Fitness is mostly measured in terms of the physical component, but it is equally important to be mentally agile to achieve and maintain holistic health.

Long distance running is my primary sport. (I have a marathon coming up in three days). The sport, however, is characterized by monotonous, repetitive movements. In the long run (no pun intended), this can cause injuries if other muscle groups are not equally worked upon. I train in Muay Thai and Capoeira for overall fitness, that keeps me more agile and tuned in to how my body is working as a whole. I also dance the Odissi style – a form of Indian classical dancing – dance again being a complete form of exercise where the entire body is worked on. And I try to be regular in the gym – to check for imbalances in muscle groups, and correct them if any. (Case in point being, the quadriceps tend to be overworked in comparison to the hamstrings in long distance running. Strength training identifies and corrects these sport-related imbalances.)

Mental agility makes one more attuned to the physical environment. Marathon training, in spite of being a physical activity, has made me more aware of my surroundings and astute in general. When you’re on the road for hours at a time (I’m a slow runner. In a training run, I could do a slow paced long run for up to six hours.), you automatically tune into what’s happening around. It has long been said, marathon running is more about mental endurance than physical endurance. And dance, of course, builds creativity with its choreographies, besides the physical effort of the activity. In addition, I also get in some mind-related activities like sketching, painting, paper quilling, or any kind of art and craft. I listen to music, and play an instrument when I can. Learning languages is a hobby, and I try and pick one up every couple of years. And of course there’s reading – the bibliophile in me is surrounded by books most of the time. Various activities work on different hemispheres of the brain, making the mind more creative and receptive to new learnings.

Mental endurance makes one more determined and thereby push further in physical pursuits, causing one to excel in sporty endeavors as well. So, try and be agile in all forms possible – let quick-footed and quick-witted go hand-in-hand.


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