We could use a little more Socratic-thinking on the matter of physical fitness in the modern day. Socrates was a brilliant philosopher, and also an incredibly hardened warrior. The old Athens valued youth and dying in battle – the only reason that Socrates became old and wise was because no one could kill him in combat!
Because of these traits, he has said many of the finest pieces of advice on physical fitness.
So let’s dig right into them!
Socrates Quotes on Physical Fitness
No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training…what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.
And yet what has to be borne by anyone who takes care to keep his body in good condition is far lighter and far pleasanter than those things subjected to the out of shape person.
The results of physical fitness are the direct opposites of those that follow from unfitness. The fit are healthy and strong, and many as a consequence save themselves decorously on the battle-field and escape all dangers of war; many help friends and do good to their country and for this they earn gratitude, glory and honor that leads to a better life and provide their children a better means of achieving a livelihood
For in everything that we do the body is useful; and in all uses of the body it is of great importance to be in as high a state of physical fitness as possible
Why even in the process of thinking and not using our body, it is a matter of common knowledge that grave mistakes may often be traced to bad health. And because the body is in a bad condition loss of memory, depression and discontent often attack the mind so violently as to drive out whatever knowledge it contains
Besides, it is a disgrace to grow old through sheer carelessness before seeing what manner of man you may become by developing your bodily strength and beauty to their highest limit. But you cannot see that, if you are careless; for it will not come of its own accord.
Surely a person of sense would submit to anything, like exercise, so as to obtain a well functioning mind and a pleasant, happy life
I tell you, because military training is not publicly recognized by the state, you must not make that an excuse for being a whit less careful in attending to it yourself. For you may rest assured that there is no kind of struggle, apart from war, and no undertaking in which you will be worse off by keeping your body in better fettle.
But a sound and healthy body is a strong protection to a man, and at least there is no danger then of such a calamity happening to him through physical weakness: on the contrary, it is likely that his sound condition will serve to produce effects the opposite of those that arise from bad condition.