Poker’s biggest stars are finding a solid connection between physical and mental health, and they have the results to prove it.
Nowadays, it’s common knowledge that physical fitness is pretty essential to staying healthy. Whether you prefer a nightly jog or like to hit the gym at the crack of dawn, breaking a sweat on a regular basis can go a long way towards protecting you against numerous health problems including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and even general aches and pains. There are countless studies on the subject and they all pretty much point to the same conclusion: staying active is probably the most important thing you can do for your long-term health and well-being.
Ok, so we all know that exercising can help us physically. But what about the mental side of things? Sure, we’ve heard that working out can help relieve stress, but can doing a few sit-ups or burpees (everyone’s favorite form of physical torture) really help improve your cognitive function? Take a look around a high stakes poker room these days, and you’ll find your answer.
Once known as one of the least health-conscience communities on earth, with its members more likely to be found holding a burger than a barbell, the modern poker crowd is embracing the trend of increasing their heart rates away from the tables, and many serious players are hitting the gym in search of pumping up their profits.
"Poker has changed. In the past, high profile players were obese, now they’re fit. They’ve swapped their moobs for pecs. Players now are educated people, they’re smart, they do the research, they care about their health. It’s not like the old days."
"Not only am I better rested, but that helps me stay mentally focused at the poker table, and also helps me exercise more efficiently, which then in turn helps with sleep. It’s just kind of all connected, you eat better, you sleep better, you exercise better and you play better, and they’re all interconnected. Doing all of these things is part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle."
"I still want to keep most of my energy for poker, for sure. It’s important to be healthy but it’s also important to keep in mind your goal, and my goal is definitely to be in the best shape to play poker and to play my best poker game."
"There's a danger in treating every poker trip like a vacation and veering too far from a healthy routine, but that's not good for me or my game."
This is what modern cerebral champs look like: they’re fit and energetic, and a far cry from what you’d find in a smoky back room just a few years ago.
In poker, a game that requires players to be extremely sharp and to regularly endure 12 hour tournament days, energy is pivotal to success. The top pros also put in countless hours away from the tables studying poker rules, which means that stamina is essential. Let’s take a look at a few ways that staying active can help increase your brain power, both on and off the felt.
When it comes to finding balance and harmony in our everyday lives and on the poker felt, there seems to be no getting around the idea that physical fitness is fundamental to success. And when we look at the physical regimes combined with the astronomical results of these poker legends, there’s no denying that in order to achieve optimal results we must start treating our bodies as extensions of our minds.