Balance… Is it something to strive for, work towards, find? Maybe all of the above.
When I think of balance in regards to life in general the thing that comes to mind is having equal parts of God, family, work, play, etc. Like when someone uses the phrase work-life balance. This is definitely something that most of us strive for although I’m not sure it’s that easily achieved.
Once upon a time when I was part of the working class…I frequently found myself sacrificing “life” for work. My thought process was that work made “life” possible. It put a roof over my head, food on my table, and enabled me to afford “life” luxuries. True…yes. Personally as I have gotten older my desire for work-life balance has grown.
I suppose you could say that my little sabbatical that’s nearing a year now is my subconscious way of trying to tip the scales back towards life vs. work being a priority.
Although extremely important to our well being this is not the balance that I set out to write about today.
I’ve been studying to become certified as a Personal Trainer and the text book that I’m studying dedicated an entire chapter to “Balance-Training Concepts”. I was not too surprised since both Personal Trainers that I have worked with have included elements of balance in my training. I trusted that this was important, but I didn’t really understand why.
Think about that first step that a small child takes on their own. It may only be one or two steps and they are down for the count. Balance is something that is learned although in our day to day lives we take it for granted. As an adult I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost my balance and nearly fallen/tripped or actually found myself on the ground wondering how I got there. Hmm? No…and not just on nights after too many cocktails.
bal·ance definition from dictionary.com
- a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.
- something used to produce equilibrium; counterpoise.
- mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.
The goal of balance training is to continually increase awareness of your limits of stability. When doing balance training you are in an unstable environment (as a beginner this could simply mean standing on one leg). It is essential that you can safely control your movements. Just like strength training…as your balance improves you will continue to push yourself (for example progressing to standing on a bosu ball). Safety is always the first priority.
Whether you are performing simple tasks around your home or playing sports balance is essential to all movements. The better your balance…the better you can perform all movements and ensure you are reducing the risk of injury.
There’s a lot of information and resources available on the Internet regarding balance training. Here are just a few links to sites that have provided examples of various balance exercises:
Don’t under estimate the importance of balance training as part of your routine. It will surely have a positive impact on your overall fitness progress. After all we all need balance in our lives.
Until tomorrow… Kathi