Fashion and movement haven’t always gone hand in hand. In the past, guys had to choose: feel stiff and look great? Or feel comfortable and look sloppy? Nowadays, with accelerated fashion technology, state of the art fabrics and designers who understand the fast-paced lifestyle of their customer, there’s no need to sacrifice freedom of movement – and your overall health – for the sake of style.
Whether you’re conscious of it or not, slipping into uncomfortable, tight or badly cut garments can immediately affect your everyday performance. Consider this: you wake up, maybe stretch, then put on a slim fit shirt and jacket and suddenly, you’re unable to move as freely as you could just moments ago. Your shoulders are restricted as you reach down to tie your laces; your spine is tight; throughout the day sitting becomes easier than moving; and at the end of the day, walking to the train or home seems way too difficult.
Damon Young is one of Australia’s most celebrated philosophers. He recently put out a book called How to Think About Exercise, which explores the link between fitness and mental wellbeing. We enjoyed it so much that we reached out for a chat.
What is the relationship between exercise and the mind?
It’s more than we often think. There’s plenty of scope within exercise to encourage imagination, to prompt thought, and offer meditation. There are even opportunities to develop virtues, such as courage and discipline.
You seem to be a particularly big fan of walking as exercise. Why?
When you’re walking you can encourage a state called Transient Hypofrontality or – as I call it – “walker’s reverie”. It’s a creative state that allows ideas that were previously kept apart to intermingle. It’s almost like meditation. Charles Darwin was someone who knew all about this. He would go for a walk every day on a path he had around his home. The walk, and the state of mind that went with it, helped him to do a lot of hard creative work and ultimately change millennia of dogma.