“Plato could have warned me. In “The Republic,” he advises “temperance” in physical training, likening it to learning music and poetry. Keep it “simple and flexible,” as in all things, don’t overdo. Follow this course, and you will remain “independent of medicine in all but extreme cases.”
Plato was an athlete, particularly skilled as a wrestler. His given name was Aristocles, after his grandfather, but the coach under whom he trained is said to have called him “Plato” — from the Greek for broad, platon, on account of his broad-shouldered frame. It stuck.
So good a wrestler was Plato that he reportedly competed at the Isthmian Games (comparable to the Olympics), and continued wrestling into adulthood. Ensconced at the academy, he spoke strongly on behalf of the virtues of physical education. He felt that one should balance physical training with “cultivating the mind,” exercising “the intellect in study.” The goal “is to bring the two elements into tune with one another by adjusting the tension of each to the right pitch.” Equal parts thought and sweat, so to speak.”