By Jessica-Ann – Personal Trainer |
We often look at the concept of balance when approaching any kind of transformation or improvement in our quality of life.
I feel that the ideology of balance involves an interconnectedness with all things. When one is “in balance”, their mind and body works as a team. This helps to provide a foundation for a healthy and functioning human being.
Many of us live in a sedentary environment and may find our day filled with an overarching pull towards work, household responsibilities, university assignments, family or relationship roles and/or external commitments. Such non-negotiable priorities may be throwing you out of balance if they creep into taking over the majority of your moments, which in turn transfers into your days and eventually your life. With our modern world where everything appears to be in hybrid multitasking mode (just look at the Apple Watch), we as Women may have bestowed the expectation on ourselves to do it all.
When we are young we have to go to school and possibly a before or after school activity or sport. At this point we are learning so much on an enormous scale and without the freedom to necessarily pick and choose what we learn. The balance of our lives often depends on what is chosen for us either by our parents/caregivers or the universe.
We then become teenagers and may have school, plus our activity or sport and/or job. During this time our body and mind goes through such a vast multitude of psychological, emotional and physical (in addition to sometimes-spiritual) changes.
From here we go into adulthood, and if being a teenager was not complicated enough, our bodies and our minds both expand and retract with the combination of past knowledge and future understanding.
So at this very point in time, we have already undergone such a colossal collection of life experiences that encompass balance or imbalance that it is not until we think about it that we can decipher how to endure that balanced connection between mind and body.
I have trialled and experimented with many things over the years and found the following points helpful in staying upright and moving forward while walking on the tightrope that is life. Sometimes we are dealt a faulty line, other times the line is being stabilised at both ends, and life let’s us cruise for a while. But the plunge and challenges we cross are real, however nothing lasts forever so in the mean time it is encouraging to exist in the moment feeling centred.
Balance of Exercise and Energy
- Aim to partake in at least thirty minutes of exercise everyday.
- If you are sitting at your desk for a while, try going for a brisk walk and get outside for bit.
- If you have housework to do, put some motivating music on and “dance while no-one’s watching (except maybe your two year old who’s looking at you blankly).
- If you have access to the internet, why not try an online workout?
- Design your own circuit for home… I sometimes use my stairs for elevated lunges and my drink bottle for weights – get experimental.
- If you have more time, aim to get yourself into a good routine where you workout at a similar time each day and allow yourself one rest day so you can just go for a walk or something light to moderate.
- Do some (around 20 each time) sit ups and squats every time you wash your hands… this one was random but I tried it for a while just to get some core and booty work going and by the end of the day I had done over 100 sit ups and squats!
- Vary your workout regime… Majority of bodies respond best to a diverse range of exercise and training. If you have the time allow yourself an hour a week for; weights, Pilates style exercises, stretching, cardio and something strength related (either weights again or body weight exercises).
- Balance your workout time. Try to get a warm up and cool down in.
- Finally, just do it. Even the busiest of people have time. We create time, time does not define us. I know this sounds harsh but it’s true… just try to fit it in at some point in your day
Balanced Diet of Nature’s Foods
- Yes, if you drink lemon and water and eat no food you will lose weight…. BUT is this balanced… NO!!!
- Aim to eat foods that will fuel your body and try not to cut out a food group completely. With this being said I do not usually classify processed foods as a food group and our bodies would be much better off without them but hey – it’s still important to live a little other wise what’s the point?
- So having balanced diet may look like…Vegetables, Fruits, Wholemeal Carbohydrates and Protein as your main sources of energy. Following this you may have on occasion those ingredients and foods that seem to creep in like alcohol, processed sugars and preservative induced food. If you do have something that is not align with the balance you wish to create, please don’t feel guilty or give up – just reset and move on taking in what you felt and have a plan for next time.
Growth, Development and our Mind
- Have you ever heard the saying “Where the mind goes energy flows”? Well this has a whole lot of truth to it. Aim to feed your mind as well as your body not just with natural foods but with positive and direct thoughts. If you are putting out there – “I am fat, I can’t do this, I ate pizza for lunch so I don’t feel like exercising”; this is throwing your centre WAY off and tilting you towards the “well why bother?” side of things.
- Rather, aim to put your energy into an appreciative mode. Try feeding your mind with thoughts like “I ate this pizza but I am going to give back to my body by ensuring I move forward from this and go to bootcamp/a walk/ a swim tonight”.
- If we have nothing to aim for then it makes it hard to stay on track and stay balanced. Some ways I like to ensure I get my exercise in is by making sure the exercise I am doing is directed towards something. Sometimes it is learning to surf so that I can go out the back with my sister and not flounder all the way into shore.
- Other times I’ll practice strengthening various areas of my body so that I can do certain exercises like pull ups or practice running so I can run from one location to another. There are so many things that we can get motivated and inspired by, it’s just a matter of finding what makes you tick and going for it.
- In saying that it is still important to have a balanced mind. If you are giving EVERYTHING to your exercise and nutrition it is easy (especially now with the “fitspo” movements) to become obsessed. I will go into this in more detail in future posts but basically just be mindful and be aware of how in-depth you are delving with your physical, mental and emotional energy that you put into anything. There is a massive distance in the line of obsession, passion, and destruction so try to stay centred in the passionate area.
- Finally, give yourself the time to just be still and think. Such a simple but effective mode of fitness and looking after our bodies in a balanced way that we often overlook. Each day just practice being still for ten minutes – ten minutes a day! You could do it right before bed or while you’re at the traffic lights, just focus on your breathe for ten minutes or listen to a meditation CD.
- Pair this stillness up with at least 7 hours sleep and what I mentioned above and BOOM – this is the perfect combination for building up towards that balanced lifestyle you may aspire to attain.