When most of us think of physical intelligence, we think of dancers and athletes. Indeed, athletic prowess, physical grace, and control of the body for achievement or expression are each important aspects of this kind of intelligence. However, another important facet is the use of fine motor skills such as hand-eye coordination for activities like surgery, carpentry, and painting.
Very few people can accomplish the highest levels of physical intelligence, and those who do — whether sports heroes or heart surgeons — are usually both admired and paid handsomely for it. Yet everyone can benefit enormously from improving our intelligence in this realm. Until recently, physical intelligence was something that had been devalued in our society, mostly as a result of the industrial revolution. Once people developed machines to do tasks like farming and metal work, people's physical abilities in these areas were pushed aside.
Fortunately today, medical research demonstrates the importance of physical activity and maintaining a mind-body connection. It's been found that the more people use their bodies and preserve their physical capabilities, the more their thinking can improve, as well. Physical intelligence isn't just about muscle and athleticism. There are a variety of skills that can be worked on when it comes to improving physical intelligence including strength, endurance, flexibility, balance, dexterity, expressiveness, coordination, and good reflexes (Armstrong, 1999). People who use this type of intelligence frequently come to see their bodies as a source of joy, along with the added bonus of suffering less from stress and certain types of disease.
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