It may seem strange to think of a person who is “intelligent” when it comes to her body, given that in many Western societies we regard the mind and the physical self to be separate. In fact, the relationship could even be regarded as combative, as shown by phrases such as “mind over matter” and being told to use willpower to overcome those donut cravings. Some philosophies endeavor to completely rid humans of their ties to the physical world and only elevate people who can achieve deep trances to the highest levels of being.
In truth, our bodies and our minds are inextricably tied, and as medical science becomes more sophisticated it is getting hard to deny it. Hormones and other neurochemicals can be tied to a variety of conditions that have specific and measurable effects on our mental health. Likewise, physical symptoms such as a loss of appetite or sympathetic pains for a loved one can be caused by our brain activity.
People who possess the Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence are those who find their bodies much easier to understand and manipulate than their thoughts. Where a visually intelligent person can approximate the distance between the ball and the basket, a “body smart” person will be able to make the shot. Their brains and bodies are in sync in a way that other peoples’ are not, and physical tasks such as dancing or fixing an engine may appear effortless. These are the craftsmen and the builders, the farmers and the firefighters, the performers and the athletes in our world. They tend to enjoy outdoor activities and vigorous hobbies that require exertion in exchange for adrenaline.
In USAT, we try to engage our students physically as well as mentally. During PA.R.T.Y. in a Box challenges, teams are often encouraged to add dancing or some other type of movement in order to garner extra points. They are given physical tasks, such as getting ping pong balls to land in an egg carton, during Mind Sprints, and we reward quick reflexes during the oral Face-Off! round.
Next week, we’ll take a look at Musical Intelligence. In case you missed them, check out the posts about Verbal Intelligence, Mathematical Intelligence, and Visual Intelligence.
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