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Are you in balance?

Posted by: Garden of Life on Monday, August 20, 2012

Did you see any of the women's gymnastics during the Olympics last week?


Watching the Balance Beam competition had me thinking:  These young ladies are certainly at the top of the world in terms of being able to balance their bodies in some amazing positions.  The flips and tumbling they perform on a piece of wood that's just 4 inches wide is at times almost unbelievable.

So, their bodies are certainly in balance.  But what about the rest of their lives?  US gymnasts training for the Olympics are in the gym 30-40 hours per week.  Add in 6 hours per day for school, and that doesn't leave much time for other pursuits.

While these athletes day to day lives and their goals may not have much in common with those of us not in such high level training, the lack of Balance in our lives is something most of us do share.


Work, sleep, relationships, fitness, recreational pursuits, spirituality, healthy food - finding time to spend on each of these can be a challenge.  And yet, if we don't work to balance these parts of our life, even the ones we do focus on won't be optimal, as each of these work together.

Let's look at fitness.  Even within this one are of life, we must work for balance.  Spending too much time strength training and not enough time on flexibility, and you will see your strength training results effected.

What can you do about it? Work to plan a fitness routine that includes all of the following:

1 - Strength Training - be sure you are targeting all muscle groups, including your core.  Vary your routine, body weight exercises as well as lifting weights all contribute to stronger muscles.

2 - Cardiovascular conditioning - both steady state cardio and intervals have a place in your fitness routine.  Don't always do the same type of cardio - machines such as a treadmill or stair stepper are great, but remember you can take those activities outdoors for a different experience, swimming is a wonderful aerobic activity as well - and one of my favorite things to do!

3 - Flexibility - daily stretching is a must, but dedicating a day in your fitness plan to yoga or pilates will complement your strength training and cardio days and help your body avoid overuse type injuries.


Depending on your fitness goals, you can adjust the time you spend on each of these components.  Training for a marathon? Running will be at the core of your fitness plan, add strength training and flexibility workouts around that core.

Looking to lose weight? a good balance of each of the above will bring you to your goals sooner than neglecting any of the above.   Try taking an hour 4 days each week and spending 30 minutes on Strength Training and 30 minutes on Cardio.  On the fifth day take a yoga class.

You may be surprised how having a balanced fitness plan will affect the balance of other areas of your life.   Better sleep as a result of consistent activity, the desire to eat healthier foods, and the ability to see relationships in a happier light are all byproducts of taking care of your body.  Spending more time seeking out things you love will lead to overall balance and happiness.
 

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