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A Balanced Body

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By Helena Monica

When planning your post-holiday workout approach, stop and think twice about the commitment you’re making. Let’s face it, whatever workout you do, it’s your commitment that is going to get you the results you are looking for. Any trainer will confirm that! But what do you really need for your body to be in balance, look good, and stay pain-free? It is common to gravitate to the places you feel comfortable. You see the familiar faces, do the familiar routine, know what to wear, and basically know how your body will respond. But is that what your body really needs?

A healthy, fit body is a body in balance. It is body that has both strength and flexibility. It is a body that is challenged to be strong while simultaneously challenged to breathe freely. It is a body that stands straight and is pain free. It is a body that sleeps well and craves a balanced diet without too many restrictions. It naturally craves the right foods rather than being imprisoned by an overly strict diet to obtain a desired result. It is relaxed in and out of movement while carrying a structure that feels strong and stable.

The idea of balance is multi-faceted. If you spend too much time focusing on your outer form – what we see in the mirror – you can get lost and consumed there, when the concept of balance is much bigger. The systems and organs of your body also play a massive role in how you look and feel. They lend to your energy levels, your attitude, and can even play a role in your freewill, which is the very thing that will help you stick with your original commitment of finding your idea of health in the first place. Your hormones affect your mood, your brain affects your nervous system, and your digestion affects your vitality. It is so much more than muscles and heart rate, though they certainly have their place within the equation of balance.

It is very healthy for you to step out of your comfort zone both physically and mentally. We have all been stuck in a rut before in one form or another, and spent one too many days thinking about how to get out of it. For some of us, it is as basic as finding a fitness routine, period! For others it is about taking a new look at our definition of being fit and healthy. Look at your body from inside out, front to back, and top to bottom. Consider the entire picture before committing to a program. A fitness program should feel challenging, but not overly strict. It should resonate with a part of you that is not stubborn or harsh, but rather is speaking to an inner knowledge that says, “This is difficult, but feels right and good.” It should be surrounded with folks that you feel good about being around—avoiding gossip and ego and instead enjoying camaraderie and honor.

A multitude of other perspectives and points of view are all part of creating balance. For example, if you are indoors too much, you might consider walking in the evening or hiking out in nature. Maybe getting in the pool and feeling the freshness of water will bring a certain needed element to your equation. Consider adding a long stretching class to balance out a muscle-building routine or some Tai Chi if you are always on the go. Whatever counteractive choice you decide to bring in will likely seem out of place at first, but that is an indicator you’re on your way to creating a balanced body.

So as you go forth into the New Year, paint a fresh picture for a new you. Write down your objectives to make it clear to yourself what your needs are, not your desires. This picture could likely lead you into some surprising new adventures, and have you walking through the doors of places you never thought you would go. You might open areas of you that have been closed for far too long, creating a new type of vitality, a new type of strength, and a new relationship with yourself and what you deem to be fitness. The San Joaquin Valley is bubbling with new energy as our community evolves. It is the individual that paints the picture of health, not the whole. So make this year unique. Broaden your horizons and see yourself through a new lens. Your relationship with yourself is very much affected by your choices. Make a new choice for yourself and enjoy the freshness of doing something different. Make a masterpiece of balance.