Professional body builders know all about balance; concentrating on all muscle groups and, when necessary, giving extra attention to those areas that start to fall behind. Nobody wants to be the guy who works out only his upper body, but looks ready to fall over on his skinny legs. In the same way, too often we forget about finding balance in the rest of our lives.
Mental and Physical Balance One of the best ways for, both your physical and mental health, is to get your butt outside. Taking up a new sport can be very intimidating for most people, but don’t be afraid to try. Is there something you have always wanted to do, but never had the courage to? Snowboarding/skiing, mountain/road biking, trail running, kayaking, rock climbing, surfing, or any number of other sports that are fun and get you outside with other like minded enthusiasts. You will never have a better workout than riding your bike up a mountain where you push yourself beyond limits that you never knew you had… you are pursuing a goal! And the fun coming back down the other side will make you smile from ear to ear. What a great way to shed excess pounds and find an incredible body underneath!
If you know someone who is already involved in a sport that you would like to try, ask if they can help you get started. Taking a beginners course or joining a local club/association are often the best ways to get comfortable and make lifetime friends with similar interests. Sports like rock climbing, cross country biking, and kayaking typically have great support networks and communities, where they welcome and guide newcomers. Choose an activity that can be easily accessible in your area and, if you have kids, get them involved with you. You will be giving them the greatest gift that will be with them forever. Even if you are not naturally athletic, your kids will learn that you don’t have to be perfect at something, just have fun and challenge yourself. There is no better time to start than now and you will be very surprised to meet many other men and women starting out at the same athletic level.
Work/Life Balance If you are thinking it will be too expensive to start a new sport/activity, ask yourself where are you spending your money now. Are you spending money you have, and don’t have, on things that will have little value in five years? That big screen TV felt great to buy in the moment, but will it really do anything to positively contribute to you and your families’ life? Instead, invest in activities and things that will increase the value of your life, health, and happiness. One of the biggest lessons I hope people learned in the recent economic crash is that things don’t last and in reality have little importance, but memories can never be taken away from you. Work to live, not live to work!
Nutritional Balance When we are continuously bombarded with junk food advertisements, one of the most difficult areas of life to find balance in is our eating. Finding balance isn’t about being perfect or denying yourself; life is to be experienced and enjoyed, so take a page from the book of the French culture, where they know how to savor every morsel of food, including cheese, bread, croissants, butter, wine, and pack powerful flavor into every bite. They don’t graze constantly throughout the day, but have small meals that are made with fresh, flavorful ingredients and they see food as an experience to be enjoyed, not a habit. A good rule of thumb to use when shopping; only buy groceries around the edge of the store and avoid going into the center isles unless you absolutely have to. Furthermore, if you have seen an advertisement for a packaged food, it’s probably best to keep it out of your mouth. How often have you seen a commercial for apples?
Body Balance Another area that is probably least often thought about are the chemicals from your personal care products. Every day our bodies are being bombarded with hundreds of potentially dangerous chemicals from antiperspirants, shower gels, shampoos, lotions, etc… . The big one on everyone’s lips, and most easily recognizable, are parabens, which mimic estrogen when absorbed into your system (take note men), but there are many more chemicals that can also cause hormonal disruption, cancer, kidney damage, and much more. I’m not saying you should go throw out everything in your washroom right at this moment, but along the theme of finding balance, just start eliminating one chemical at a time. It is also much easier to get the whole family on side if you don’t overwhelm them with a huge list of chemicals they can’t even pronounce. Start with the easiest to recognize, parabens, then move onto parfum, phthalates, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfates (SLS), etc… There are many great resources online, including smart phone apps that you can take with you to the grocery store as a reference.
The bottom line Life is to be enjoyed and savored, so don’t deny yourself, but do your best to stay in balance with yourself and the world around you and, most importantly, enjoy every moment before there are no more moments left.
About the Author: Lisa McGregor is a mother, business woman, university student, and an avid snowboarder and mountain biker. Widowed at the age of 34 with two teenage boys, Lisa moved to Whistler, Canada, and learned to live a minimalist life full of health and love. One of the owners of Whistler Naturals Skin Care , she writes about how to have a healthy, active life and get the most enjoyment out of each and every day, without chasing material possessions, but memories that you can take with you to the end of your life.
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