April 12, 2024


Automotive to Us

Racing for a healthy mind, body and spirit

Plato coined the phrase: “The due proportion of mind and body is the loveliest and fairest sight to him who has a seeing eye.” As a triathlete now for almost 30 years, I learned the value of this quote after transitioning from a runner to a triathlete.

Adding swimming and biking to the mix allows me to work different muscles groups, which reduces the wear and tear on ligaments and tendons from the constant stress of just running. In addition, I realized stretching and lifting weights are imperative for overall health and well-being.

For many people, the pandemic helped them realize the relevance of maintaining a robust immune system and shedding a few extra pounds. Triathlons, like many forms of exercise, also create a space where one can meditate or pray. Think of a long bike ride along some country roads. Jesus spent 40 days alone meditating and developing his spiritual “immune system.” A mind constantly bombarded by the news, iPhones, iPads and other interruptions is robbed of silence and solitude.

Social distancing is the norm for triathletes because they don’t train in large groups. Most workouts — running, biking and swimming — are done alone. During a race, triathletes have to maintain a distance of two full bike lengths between each other. While swimming in a lake, there are staggered starts for the different age groups and genders. During the run, most athletes are spread out along the course since everyone competes at their own pace.

In a world where professional athletes are considered old at 35 or 40, especially for sports like basketball and football, triathletes continue to compete well into their 60s and 80s. The triathlete has the mindset that this is for the long haul, pandemic or not. Many triathlons were canceled this past year due to the virus, but the training for most continued since it is an acquired lifestyle.

Triathlons are beginning to start up again with masks in the bike transition area and staggered starts for the swim portion. Plus, masks are worn after the event as we collect our equipment and awards — if we are lucky. We don’t complain about masks infringing on our civil rights because we are hard-wired to value our health and consistent training.

The late-renowned cardiologist and runner “guru” George Sheehan stated: “I run because I am an animal and a child, an artist and a saint. So too are you. Find your own play, your own self-renewing compulsion, and you will become the person you are meant to be.”

As new variants of the coronavirus begin to circulate and as we wait to be vaccinated, find that balance between mind and body. This balance can only be maintained with proper rest and nutrition.

In our society where many struggle with the new stresses caused by the virus on top of high obesity rates and hunger for fast foods, let’s heed Plato’s advice of finding that balance between mind and body. We took our first breath at birth, and we will take our last one at death.

But in between, we can stretch our lungs as we transition from a sedentary to a more active and balanced lifestyle. Prepare yourself now for the next virus and the challenges of life by building up your immune system by interconnecting the mind, body and spirit, which can be the long-lasting “vaccine” we all need.

Lane Carnes is the author of a number of books, most recently “A Jar of Clay” in 2020.