Dick Winters on Fitness

Because I was in such good shape, my fatigue level never reached the point of physical exhaustion that contributes to mental exhaustion and, ultimately, to combat fatigue.

Dick Winters, “Beyond Band of Brothers”

In his memoirs “Beyond Band of Brothers“ Dick Winters, commander of the Band of Brothers – an elite parachute unit in World War II – explains:

Physical exhaustion leads to mental exhaustion, which leads to a loss of self-discipline.
The loss of self-discipline leads to fatigue and an unwillingness to do the job.
Not doing the job leads to a loss of pride and self-respect.
Without pride comes an unwillingness to keep going.

Time and time again he mentions that good physical fitness was a deciding factor that prevented mental exhaustion and breakdowns of his troops.

Thus, physical fitness is not only important for preventing a multitude of illnesses, living longer and sleeping better – it’s also a major factor in how well you can handle stress and keep going.

In a meaningful life there’s arguably little that is more important than that.