The mental benefits of exercise have been getting a lot of air time lately since the pandemic put a sudden halt to our outdoor ventures. ASICS, however, has long understood the correlation between physical and mental health – its name is even an acronym for the Latin phrase Anima Sana In Corpore Sano, which translates to "A Sound Mind in a Sound Body."

This thinking applies to every sneaker the Japanese brand creates and its latest release, the NOVABLAST SPS, is designed to stop you from procrastinating and put the“fun” back into your daily life thanks to its extra springy, trampoline-like sole. Whether you’re running marathons or running errands, the NOVABLAST SPS is meant to make every step enjoyable, encouraging you to get outside (where lockdowns allow) and get some fresh air.

To get tips on keeping a sound body and sound mind, we caught up with Dani KM, a Lisbon-born London-based photographer; Freja Wewer, a creative director and a stylist from Copenhagen; and Labrum founder, Foday Dumbuya as they test out ASICS' new NOVABLAST SPS sneaker.

Dani

How do you keep a sound body and a sound mind?

By going outside. Sometimes it can be quite hard to find the motivation to go outdoors, but try flying a kite, birdwatching, or go on a hike. I find joy in that. Listen to a podcast or a new album, or just dont listen to anything at all and pay attention to the sounds around you.

How does staying active impact other areas of your life, such as your creativity, career, and your headspace?

It's honestly everything. Due to the current circumstances, it seems like we've craved to be outdoors more than ever. It has given me so much inspiration, especially cycling, as you get to think and come up with wild ideas that would never come to you while taking in a show of nature.

Do you have any routines or rituals that help you stay balanced?

Going out in the morning so your brain creates melatonin for you to sleep well at night and playing animal crossing when it’s cold out so I can pretend I’ve spent the day outside.

London is a busy city; how do you find peace or calm within it?

I’ve been finding it harder and harder to stay connected and find peace in central London and the busy chaos. it's been overwhelming. The far south of London and Surrey have been giving me the quiet peace of mind I needed during stressful times. There are days where we leave the house four times to go lay in the park or watch the ducks and deers. You can't do that in London without spotting someone every 5 minutes. Explore and expand is my advice!

How do you get in the zone before a shoot?

Definitely getting to know my subject before we shoot, speak to them, and engage with their stories instead of just meeting them for the sake of work. Connecting with people is more and more the source of my inspiration, it's good to mentally detach ourselves from whatever worries and problems we're going through and let go for a bit.

In your opinion, what makes for a great pair of sneakers?

Durability and wearability, something light that will last me for a long time.

Foday

Why did you start Labrum?

I launched Labrum in 2015 to be able to inspire and impact people of my generation. Most importantly, to leave a legacy for people in West Africa whereby in 50 years or so they will have something to look back as reference. I also created Labrum to rebel against short-term trends and to create timeless fashion.

I gain inspiration from life, which for me is a journey, from growing up in Sierra Leone to Cyprus and London. The concept of travel and exploration has been constant throughout my life and I apply things that I have seen and learned to the Labrum design ethos. Labrum is a product of experience and heritage with my own personal interpretation. African fashion and culture weren’t represented the right way in mainstream media so I thought why not go away and set up something and tell the untold African story the right way including its rich heritage, culture, and music.

What do you do to keep a sound body and a sound mind?

A sound mind is the result of a sound body for me. Regular running keeps my mind clear, I get to enjoy the city I live in and share it with whomever I am running with.

How does staying active impact other areas of your life, such as your creativity, career, and your headspace?

Physically moving ironically gives my mind peace. The process of putting one foot in front of the other clears out the junk in my mind and creates space for my creativity.

Do you have any routines or rituals that help you stay balanced?

Labrum is a huge demand on my time and relationships therefore I ensure I eat dinner at the dining room table with my wife with no phones, TV, or other distractions at least four times per week.

What do you hope to achieve through Labrum Athletic?

With Labrum Athletic, we strive to enable and empower everyone through the power of a grassroots movement. I believe it’s important to run with a purpose, not simply just to better ourselves at sports but to fundamentally better our selves. Part of the Labrum Athletic ethos and approach is a goal led by our hearts. It propels us all to the finish line and beyond with hope to inspire those around us.

In your opinion, what makes for a great pair of sneakers?

Durability, comfort, support, and color.

Freja

What do you do to keep a sound body and a sound mind?

I always try my best to get my sleep. Sleep is a privilege. I’ve gone through periods in my career where I didn’t get enough sleep, and it made me super stressed and easily confused; I lost my focus and had breakdowns. Some people see it as “sloppy” to sleep for a long time. In my opinion, it is a great privilege to be able to get the hours my body and mind need. I really appreciate it when I manage to make it happen!

How does staying active impact other areas of your life, such as your creativity, career, and your headspace?

Staying active has a HUGE impact on everything in my life. I easily feel a difference in my body and mind, when I’m active or not. There’s no doubt that being active is for the better. It gives me more energy and makes me a lot more confident; everything else seems easier and a lot more fun to overcome. It feeds my soul and makes me a better version of myself.

Do you have any routines or rituals that help you stay balanced?

Working out regularly definitely helps me stay in tune with my body and mind – so I can keep my eyes on the ball and create things I’m happy with and proud of. At the moment, I love outdoor workouts with my PA, taekwondo, and running. I think you just need to find something that makes you happy - what it is exactly, is not that important – because if you force yourself to do something you don’t really like, there’s a big chance that you will end up quitting. I also walk almost every day. I get in a flow and a state of mind where one step takes the other, and my mind follows; going through a lot of stuff and sorting things out. It’s very meditative and productive.

I’m a bit pre-occupied and easily get confused, so I take notes about what I have planned for the next day - and then I tick off when I’ve done the different stuff. It’s very basic, but it helps a lot on my stress level to write everything down. And lastly, I always give myself a break if I need it. Staying focused for a longer period of time has always been difficult for me. But a 10 min walk with headphones is my go-to when I need to clear and calm my mind.

How do you get in the zone before a job?

A good night’s sleep, healthy food that will give me energy, and then I always take a walk and listen to music right before.

In your opinion, what makes for a great pair of sneakers?

I really love sneakers to be comfortable and functional – they are made to be worn and used. That’s what makes them cool, I think…that they are designed to be functional yet end up being beautiful.

SHOP THE COLLECTION

The ASICS NOVABLAST SPS is available now at asics.com.

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