Finding Balance: Part 2

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Fluid Balance

How much water do you drink every day? Is it enough to keep up with your lifestyle? An insufficient amount of water can lead to a long list of catastrophic events within your body. Failure to maintain fluid balance can lead to dehydration, which can cause fatigue, muscle cramping, and body temperature imbalances. Sufficient water helps to sustain proper kidney function, regulates the fluid inside and outside of cells, and helps to flush waste from our bodies. Water and electrolyte components are also involved in the control of osmotic pressure. Osmosis is the force that impels water molecules to move throughout our bodies. Seems pretty important if you ask me! The amount of water needed can be conditional to each person. A few factors to look at are; activity level, age, gender, and climate you live in. It is very important to re-hydrate after a workout since our bodies have just lost a good amount of water through sweating. It is also good to remember that thirst is a poor indicator of our need for water. Once you feel that thirst, you’ve most likely been dehydrated for some time already. And as we get older a lot of times our thirst mechanism won’t work as well.  So do what you need to do to get enough water EVERY DAY. I carry a water bottle with me everywhere I go, that way I have no excuse not to get enough!

Stress Balance

When you are stressed your body goes into a “fight or flight” survival mode.  This causes the hormone, cortisol to release, increasing your heart rate and giving you a surge of energy.  Some stress can be helpful if you are using it to help you accomplish a project on time or perform a task, whether it’s winning a sporting event or performing on a stage in front of 500 people.  It seems though that most of us stay in a constant state of “stressed” and never give ourselves a break from it.  Stress can have many side effects and will manifest itself differently in each person.  It can cause headaches, upset stomach, lack of sleep and a compromised immune system.  It can also alter your outlook on life causing mood swings, nervousness and depression.

So what are some ways that we can give ourselves a break from that stress and relax a little bit? Just a few things that you could try are: exercise, finding a hobby, stretching/yoga, getting a massage, breathing techniques, or writing down your feelings. I think that it is very important to carve out time for yourself to just be, breathe and put your worries aside.

I know that balance can be a hard task to accomplish and I struggle with it on a daily basis. In time though I believe that balance can be accomplished with a little work and a lot of learning about one’s self.

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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!

Sabotage.

Do you ever have one of those days where the whole world seems like it’s turning on you? Rest assured you’re definitely not alone. That day was yesterday for me. Nothing seemed to go my way and I needed a *major* attitude adjustment because of it.

Like many people I tend to turn toward food for comfort. Let me clarify, I don’t turn toward wholesome food that will sustain my energy and give me lasting nourishment. It’s always the bad kind. The stuff I have put limitations on. The poison that I know my body doesn’t handle well. In the moment I think it’s going to make me feel good but I almost instantaneously regret it.

BUT IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD!

*Cue the motivational music* So, I picked myself up and dusted myself off. Don’t let your past mistakes dictate your future. And definitely don’t let the little things ruin your day! I’m learning every day how NOT to get in the way of the goals I’ve set for myself. So I’ve decided today will be a better day! Starting right…NOW.