In the first post on this blog, I referenced the following quote from modern philosopher John Locke: "A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description of a happy state in this world." It's clear that running can contribute to the formation of "a sound body," as Locke puts it. But how does running contribute to the formation of "a sound mind"?
Many people tend to emphasize the mind and its development as the key to happiness. Our culture goes for the opposite extreme, as people are willing to spend large sums of money and devote much of their free time to developing the body and having particular emotional experiences. However, my own experience is that I am happiest, in the deeper sense alluded to by Aristotle, Socrates, and others, when my mind is being challenged as well as my body. I've found that philosophical thinking enhances my running, and that running enhances my philosophical thinking. Some of my best ideas have come to me while out pounding the pavement. The ideas I'm referring to aren't just those that relate to my job as a philosopher, but also very practical insights related to my daily life as a husband and father. Something about running helps the mind think more clearly, and opens the way for new and practical insights.
Running can also be mentally and emotionally beneficial in another sense. See Get Some Running Therapy for more on this. Posted by Mike Austin at 4:57 AM
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About the Book
Running and Philosophy: A Marathon for the Mind is a collection of 19 essays written by philosophers for runners. The book addresses some of the big questions runners think about in a way that entertains, educates, and hopefully inspires. You can check it out here and here. It is also now available on Kindle.