How to Achieve Better Balance
by Angie Miller
~Going from Chaos to Calm
Balance means something different to everyone, but personally when my life is in balance I feel calmer and more at peace, as if everything is in sync. Balance is something that we strive for in a physical setting and in life, and there is a strong parallel between the two. In a physical setting, balance is required for all athletic endeavors and everyday functional movement. In everyday life, balance is required to successfully manage our time and responsibilities. Good life balance means that we can juggle personal and professional commitments in a healthy, positive way.
In a physical setting I help individuals achieve better balance by implementing four variables. These variables are meant to manipulate the environment and teach the body how to maintain balance even when the environment becomes less stable. These physical variables are the same ones we use to create and maintain balance in our everyday lives. When an event occurs that threatens our stability, we turn to these variables to get back on track. There are four variables we use to “fight” for our balance in a physical setting, and how we can apply them to everyday life.
1. Support- In a physical setting, the more support we have the more stable our environment and the better our balance. Support in a physical setting is generally defined in terms of how many contact points, or areas of the body that touch the ground, (ex. two feet vs. one). It could also be any object that adds additional stability.
In life, we also need support when our balance becomes compromised. Support comes from our friends, family, and those we lean on in times of difficulty. They are the people who offer us shoulder to cry on, or who help us out when we can’t be three places at once. The stronger our support system the more likely we are to feel emotional, cognitive, and spiritual well being, and the stronger our foundation.
2. Visual- In a physical setting our visual focus can alter our level of stability. When we’re standing on one foot and we turn your head, or close our eyes, our stability is challenged. The clearer, more focused our vision in a physical setting, the better our balance.
In life, we don’t have a crystal ball. We don’t know what might happen unexpectedly and change our lives in ways we can’t imagine, but we do know that when we have a clear vision of what’s important to us our decisions will be easier to make and our vision will less clouded. Good vision in life means that we can maintain our focus even when things happen that temporarily obstruct our view.
3. Movement- In a physical setting, adding movement and range of motion increases the balance challenge. If I ask you to stand on one foot, then I give you a gentle nudge it forces you to fight for your balance. In a physical setting, the more you add movement and range of motion the more difficult it is to maintain balance.
Life is much the same way. Life is constant motion. Life doesn’t slow down when our parents get sick, or our spouse loses their job. Life demands that we maintain balance even when it seems like the ground beneath us is no longer stable. Things may happen fast or unexpectedly in life, but like visual, movement can be managed by knowing our priorities and what supports our foundation. The stronger our priorities and our understanding of what’s most important to us, no matter what our circumstances, the less movement will throw us off balance.
4. Added Resistance- In a physical setting, added resistance is any additional weight, such a free weight, medicine ball, or body bar that adds to the balance challenge. The more resistance you add, the more difficult it is to maintain your balance.
Life is much the same way. The added resistance in life is the additional responsibilities that can throw us off balance if our circumstances change: Job loss, divorce, financial setbacks, or any obstacles that get in the way. The less resistance, the easier it is to maintain balance. That said, if we’re able to work with the resistance rather than against it, and temporarily ride the waves, we can achieve better balance no matter how challenging our circumstance.
Balance is the foundation for stronger, more peaceful existence. Applying the four variables can help us stay on track and maintain a healthy life balance no matter what comes our way.
Best in Health~
Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com