Some fitness professionals will tell you that true balance is all about how much you exercise to feel good, while others will say it is based on your diet coupled with exercise – and then some will tell you that the true balance in fitness is achieved when stress reduction is achieved. Which advisor is correct? Actually, they all are.
Health and fitness is a balance of exercise, good nutrition, proper hydration, rest, proper breathing and stress reduction. Let us look at your fitness factors…
Exercise is integral to maintaining the strength of the muscles that support the body, maintaining a healthy cardio pulmonary system, and maintaining a strong skeletal system. A sound exercise program mixes cardio and strength training, along with balance and core training.
Good nutrition is important to provide your body with the fuel it needs to stay active and perform well in everyday life. Let’s compare a candy bar to spinach: according to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, one cup of spinach provides only 7 calories, and contains a bounty of nutrients, including: .86 g of protein, .7 g fiber, .81 mg of iron, 167 mg potassium, 30 mg calcium, 8.4 mg vitamin C, 58 mcg folate and 2,813 IU vitamin A per cup. By comparison a 2-oz. candy bar contains 273 calories, 14 g of fat, 5 g of which are saturated, 7 mg of cholesterol, 152 mg of sodium, 185 mg of potassium, 1 g of protein. It contains almost 34 g of carbohydrates and contains a whopping 35-50g of sugar! What are we saying? Always learn to make the best choices that will nourish your body and provide it with the energy it needs to keep moving!
Another factor in your fitness balance is proper hydration. The human body is made up of 60-65% water and every day we lose water through sweating and urination. Each individual has a different need for water consumption based on climate, activity level and body weight. Proper hydration is often achieved by drinking water regularly, and consuming water-rich foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.
Rest can be elusive in our busy world and its importance is often overlooked. Your body needs rest to regenerate from the day’s activities. The amount of sleep you need varies from person to person. Try testing yourself on the eve of a “nothing planned” day, by not setting your alarm and seeing how long you sleep before you awake feeling refreshed… You may be surprised by the results!
One of the key components to stress reduction is proper breathing. It enables – and teaches you – to inhale more oxygen and exhale more carbon dioxide. Deep, slow and diaphragmatic breaths are the best way to help you maximize your oxygen intake. Feeling oxygenated will help relieve feelings of stress, and stress reduction is integral to a balanced life style. Stress relief – and sometimes unconsciously, relaxed breathing – are often positive benefits of such pleasurable activities as massage, meditation, music and reading. It is also important to note that stress releases cortisol, a hormone directly related to belly fat and a myriad of other health ailments. So stress reduction can contribute to weight loss.
As you can see, fitness balance truly equates to life balance… and requires taking care of your whole being–body, mind and spirit!
Lew Bronstein CFT, CLPC, FPC is a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and Life Coach at Revitalize Life. 760.609.4539 or online www.revitalizelife.com