fitness · Sat with Nat

The beauty of bodies in motion

There are somethings I find absolutely beautiful: flowers, babies laughing, dog faces and well made food.

There are things that are contextually beautiful, like a moment of compassion or tenderness in the midst of chaos, but I never thought much about non-elite athletes, motion and beauty before. There certainly have been posts here about the different kinds of bodies elite athlete have, and yes, I think those bodies are quite beautiful. I loved Catherine’s post on Athleticism is Beauty so maybe that is where this post came from.

Amanda Bingson, hammer thrower, USA track and field team.
Amanda Bingson, hammer thrower, USA track and field team.

I was riding with Sam and Dave last weekend, bringing up the rear so to speak, when I was struck by how beautiful it is to see two cyclists who can perfectly match each other’s pace and ride really close to each other. Unlike running, where I seldom see anyone once we start, cycling and swimming let me see other bodies in motion and it is awesome. It’s more than mere movement for me, it’s the skill of an efficient and effective propulsion of a body through space and time.

The thing is, I don’t really like watching sports, I like doing more. Baseball is a great example. It’s fun to play but watching a live game is like pouring lemon juice on paper cuts for me. Spectators are far away and the action is quite short lived.

Riding along a road at 20 km/hr (that’s fast for some but slow for most road cyclists) I feel a little part of the action and I appreciate the skill differential between me and my friends. I find that in yoga too, all the bodies doing the poses are beautiful. For me, when something is beautiful my breath catches a little bit and I’m noticing more and more I get to have those moments.

What things in fitness and sports do you find breath catching or beautiful?

7 thoughts on “The beauty of bodies in motion

  1. I never thought I’d think of hammer throwing as so amazing. I love this picture of strength. For me, swimming is a beautiful experience. I love gliding through the water. I am weightless, graceful, and no sounds from the outside world penetrate my thoughts.

  2. Great post. My daughter was a college swimmer with very broad shoulders and tiny waist. Everywhere she went she heard comments about her body/muscles etc. It took her awhile to make peace with it and appreciate what her body had helped her to achieve.

  3. Personally, the sense of peace and calm that washes over your body if you lay down after an intense workout. Still being sweaty and merely laying down to indulge in thought of what your body just accomplished. That’s the best feeling in the world, as your breathing relaxes and the sweat cools your body down and your breathing returns to normal. There is nothing like that.

  4. This posts makes me so happy! As a thick thigh’d horse rider (you need those for balance you know!) I am finally embracing my strong legs and over developed biceps brought about by years of hauling hay and big bales of shavings. Anyway, my favourite thing to witness is galloping down the beach at top speed, glancing over at my fellow horsewoman who by the way has the thick strong thighs also and just watching her and her horse blast down the beach a picture of joy, grace and pure power. How grateful I am for my thighs. x x x

  5. The thing in fitness that I find breath catching and beautiful is the intestinal fortitude and mental focus that athletes posses. The will and drive to go at whatever sport they are doing with full force. The mental and physical coordination that is displayed in the movements. I also find beauty in the sweat and facial expressions of athletes. When you look at the physical makeup of athletes in different sports ex. ballerinas/dancers compared to basketball players compared to football players, runners, swimmers, etc. etc. there is a story that lives in the structure of their bodies. I love athletes.

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