The human body is a wonder, carrying us through the decades allowing us to fully express a life lived. However, in order to keep moving, body requires maintenance, proper care, and feeding. Through out a lifetime, we will most likely be forced to deal with some sort of injury, ache, or pain. If the body does not receive a healthy balance of diet, movement, and rest it won’t be long until gives you the proverbial middle finger and leaves you in pain or frustration.
Our bodies will not be 25 forever (even though our minds may say otherwise) and it is essential to respect and honor our bodies throughout the decades.
We live in a time where everything is fast. Our food, our driving, our brains are in the fast lane and our mental, physical and emotional health are paying the price. Take a moment and think about how much you rush just to get to the next task. Better yet, can you remember a day where you weren’t rushing? No really, think about it for a moment, I’ll wait.
Did you struggle to recall a time or were you sure of your last mindful moment?
We have all heard the word balance and chances are you have heard it more with in the last 10 years. With the boom of yoga and meditation in the west, we have come to a cross roads. Do we continue to push ourselves to do more with little awareness of how it impacts us holistically or do we reset and work towards balance?
Diversify Your Movement
If we stick to one form of exercise our body will adapt to it. That sounds like it’s a good thing but what happens is that we end up over using the same muscles and under using others. Think about the human body like sets of scales. If we over work the front side and under work the back side, we begin to create an imbalance which can effect posture, strength ,and even cause injury.
Incorporating cross training into our movement routine, helps to keep the body guessing and work the body wholly. For example, if your go to cardio is spin class, try switching a class or two out for plyometrics, weight lifting, or rowing. Being on a spin bike puts your body in a very similar position as sitting at a desk therefore working the back body will help to balance that. If you’re and avid runner, incorporating something like barre can help ensure you are firing the entire leg and hip complex which can positively impact your running.
Food As Thy Medicine
There is so much information about food and diet on the internet. Please, when taking in advice about nutrition, make sure you are learning from a LICENSED nutritionist or dietician. Now days, it seems as though everyone thinks they are an expert when it comes food but the truth is that what works for one person may not work for you. When my clients ask about what foods they should be eating , I simply say the ones that make you feel like moving. We all know that if we eat real whole foods and avoid processed crap, we have more energy. In my opinion, it is that simple. I will never point a client to a fad diet or tell them that restriction is the key because I am not an expert and I don’t believe that fads and restrictions are sustainable.
Working out hard core 6-7 days a week is not a balanced way to approach fitness. I used to think exercise really only counted if I was sweating my ass off and couldn’t move the next day, I could not be more wrong. We may be able to sustain that kind of routine in out 20s but why would we want to? Working out hard stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which increases the heart rate, cortisol, and adrenaline production. All of these things can be good for us if we balance them out with the proper amount of recovery. Recovery is the key to movement longevity. By shutting off the sympathetic nervous system and switching on the parasympathetic nervous system we are able to slow down our heart rate, reduce the production of cortisol, and reconnect to our libidos. (Sold!) Some of my all time favorite ways to recover are foam rolling, gentle yoga, going for a walk, and getting on the Pilates Reformer.
Unplug and Sleep
Sleep is like food for your body and brain. We need it and we need the proper amount in order to be more present and fully alive. This constant connection to the world online is keeping us up and keeping us from properly resting not to mention, studies are showing that our connection to social media is wreaking havoc on our mental health. What if you replaced your nightly scrolling for a breathing meditation? I invite you to commit to that practice for just one week and see what happens. You might get all itchy for that phone the first couple of nights but if you put in the work and remain consistent, I guarantee the benefits of a better night sleep will far out weigh the flush of dopamine you get from your scrolling addiction.
Little changes and consistency are key when seeking a more balanced life. Don’t try to change all at once, that’s not balance. Little by little, bit by bit, small changes make big impacts on our daily lives. May we live a more simply. wholly, and balanced life.