Fit Lit: Reading to Recovery

Body, Mind and Quill

By Christian Adrian Brown

With the Pandemic easing its virulence, we’re entering a social and economic recovery phase. Now, our nations begin to look ahead to repairing the damage done. With aspects of the Pandemic remaining so highly charged and politicized, I won’t stray into the discussions on the costs or success of the various measures employed by our governments during the Pandemic. I’m confident we will be discussing this topic—openly, honestly—for decades to come. On a personal level, and regardless of our beliefs, I’m sure we can all agree that our families and communities require a period of great healing. Another reality that has come to light has been the importance of physical activity in staving off disease, a practice slowly, stubbornly, and now widely recognized as both preventative and curative.

“Consistently meeting physical activity guidelines was strongly associated with a reduced risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes among infected adults. Therefore, we recommend efforts to promote physical activity be prioritized by public health agencies and incorporated into routine medical care.”—British Medical Journal

“Regular Exercise Slashes Risk of Covid,”—Forbes And so on. CNBC, ABC, CBS and the majority of the mainstream publications now parrot this oft unsaid point: engaging in regular physical exercise, regardless of what other preventions you partake in, grants lasting benefits vs. Covid-19 and numerous other ailments. Indeed, the benefits of exercise extend far beyond combating one disease and one alone. Although wandering into the realm of holistic fitness can be daunting—a tangled forest dangerous with gurus, fads and misinformation. One of the more salient and accessible works I’ve seen as of late has to be Move the Body, Heal the Mind by Jennifer Heisz, Ph.D. As today’s issue discusses global authors, many of Shelf’s US and UK readers may be unaware of Jennifer’s research as she’s homegrown in my neck of the woods, Canada.

Move the Body, Heal the Mind presents a comfortable, knowledgeable foray into the interconnected biochemical, nutritional and physical systems that power optimal health. Jennifer lays out the essential benefits of physical activity: longevity, increased immune response, decreased inflammation (heightened levels of which are a massive problem in today’s society), cognitive preservation, and mental equilibrium. Furthermore, she explores these myriad internal systems and processes with anecdotes and easy-to-digest factoids. What differentiates this book from similar works is the discussions around mental decline and illness, from dementia to chronic anxiety, and the data to prove exercise’s utility as a cure. It makes for a very knowledgeable and compact read (or listen, as it’s on Audible), and there are few books quite as succinct that cover so broad a swath of knowledge that I’d recommend.

A principal cultural aim must be our focus on the path ahead and preventing illness rather than reacting to it. I encourage everyone to take this path to reduce the need for high medical costs and burdens. There is no greater gift we can possess than our health, and attaining that gift is often free. Yet sadly, many do not realize the worth of their bodies until years of neglect have caused catastrophic damage.


About the Columnist

Quadragenarian fitness model, lifestyle coach and bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Feast of Fates, Christian A. Brown received a Kirkus star in 2014 for the first novel in his genre-changing Four Feasts till Darkness series. He has appeared on Newstalk 1010, AM640, Daytime Rogers, and Get Bold Today with LeGrande Green. He actively writes and speaks about his mother’s journey with cancer and on gender issues in the media.

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October / November 2022