Finding Balance: Part 1

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So far during my studies in personal training I have studied many different topics about health and wellness. There seems to be a recurring theme across all subjects. Balance. There are a lot of different things that need to be in balance in order for our bodies and lives to run optimally. Here are just a few things I’ve come across so far.

Energy Balance

 This is a biggie. A balance between intake of food energy and output of body work energy maintains life and health. What does this mean? Excess intake of energy (nutrients from food) means that anything extra is going to be stored as fat. Yet, insufficient intake will result in our bodies using insufficient energy sources such as protein (broken down into energy using a process called catabolism) which can ultimately result in loss of lean body mass (muscle!). In times where food is hard to come by our body uses stored fat as energy, but we live in an age where food is usually abundant. Extra fat becomes unnecessary and we must control energy balance for our weight and overall health. As far as I’m concerned this doesn’t necessarily mean counting calories. I think what I gather from it is that we need to be more conscious of how much we’re putting in. Be more conscious of what it is we’re putting in. And more importantly how does what we are ingesting make us feel? The more we are in tune with our bodies the more we feel how much is “enough” and how much is “not enough”.

Muscle Balance

 Having less than optimal length-tension and force-couple relationships between muscles can lead to many issues in the body. When a prime mover’s length-tension is hindered it will be slow to activate, forcing our body to make compensations. Synergistic muscles and stabilizer muscles will start to step in to do the job of that prime mover and can become overactive. When we develop synergistic dominance it starts to hinder the structural integrity of the kinetic chain. The quality of our movement gets affected and our movement patterns become flawed. This can cause issues like abnormal joint stress, pain and joint dysfunction, altered balance and increased risk of injury, just to name a few. In athletes, muscle imbalance could drastically hinder their development and performance.

Just to give you an example of this at work let’s look at the ankle. If your ankle doesn’t have full range of motion or is misaligned, mechanical compensation will probably happen all the way up through the rest of the body. When the ankle isn’t optimal one can expect issues to develop in the knee, hip, back and even in the shoulder and neck!

Check in later for a few more observations on balance!