This blog post is a follow up to Creating a Balance Body- Part 1. (insert link to that blog here) In part 1, I spoke about important health- giving practices that when implemented can help to create better health and wellbeing as we age. Among these were adequate water intake, proper breathing, and management of sleep and stress. Movement and nutrition are the other health- giving practices that help keep the body strong and decrease the chances of developing chronic pain and/ or injury.
In my twenty years in the health and wellness industry, I have come to believe that an individualized balanced between these “self-care” practices is imperative to creating a solid foundation for a healthy, vital life in our later years. In this blog, I will talk address the components of movement and nutrition and introduce some simple ways that you can learn to create balance within these daily, self- care practices.
Think of movement as your daily vitamin for the care of the structure of the body. The musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems are the primary systems affected, but because the body is an interconnected system, movement has the potential to positively influence every part of the body.
The key to a balanced approach to movement is to find a personalized balance of mobility work, strength training, and cardiovascular exercise (mobility + strength+ cardiovascular exercise= balanced movement). It is human nature to gravitate toward the things that we enjoy doing and shy away from those we do not. With exercise, this happens when we pick one part of the movement formula and focus intently on this, while neglecting the others. Cardiovascular training is important for strengthening the heart and lungs; flexibility training is important for maintaining mobility; and strength training is important for keeping the muscles strong and the joints healthy as we age. As I see it, if I want all these systems to be health and strong, I must spend time on each of them regularly.
It tends to be easier for women to focus on cardiovascular and flexibility exercise, while they more easily neglect strength training. Strength training is what helps to create the stability and strength around a joint to keep it healthy. When strength training is neglected, woman tend to experience back and hip pain as well as increased chances of developing osteopenia and osteoporosis.
It tends to be easier for men to focus on strength and cardiovascular exercise, while they more easily neglect the flexibility component. Proper mobility and flexibility around a joint, is important for minimizing joint injuries as age. Many of my older male clients come to me experiencing low back, shoulder and neck pain which coincides with a lack of mobility. A simple example of this is being able to have proper range of motion in ankles, knees, hips and spine to get up from the floor with minimal points of contact. This becomes extremely important in our later years as we strive to maintain independence and vitality.
A balanced approach to a movement is imperative to help decrease the chances of pain and injury as we age. The movements we perform when we exercise have the potential to change the way we move in daily life. By performing exercises and movements with awareness of posture and alignment, there is a huge opportunity to improve posture and decrease the chance of injury in daily life.
Be willing to go with the flow!
Know that life is in a constant ebb and flow of everything… there will be easy days, challenging days, stresses, schedule changes, emergencies, vacations, etc… Know this, be okay with this, and recognize that as life shifts, your movement routine should too! If you have the belief that you must always do the same forms of exercise, it makes your plan a bit rigid and it doesn’t allow it to adapt to an ever-changing schedule. This is a common belief and I often see my clients “fall of the wagon” because they just could not do it all. Be willing to adjust your exercise program, be willing to release the “all or nothing” attitude. Know that even a little bit of movement…a short walk, a set of squats or pushups, some stretching is much better than no movement at all!
Make moving the body a priority!
Intend to get some type of movement in daily… think of it as a health- giving, self- care practice. When you do, the body will reward you with increased feelings of health and vitality and decreases chances of chronic pain and injury.
Just like movement, we should think of our nutrition as a self- care practice for the body. Our diet provides the raw materials from which we rebuild the body. If we are striving for a highly functioning, efficient machine, it is imperative that we put only high- quality ingredients into the body. The quality of our nutrition effects every system within the body.
The key to a balanced approach to nutrition is that we find a personalized balance between the macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates), while focusing on ingesting high quality, organic food as often as possible
Eat as close to nature as possible…choose real foods!
Fresh veggies & fruits
Beans & legumes
Pasture- raised, grass fed meats (they have a healthier balance of fats than those meats that are conventionally raised)
Eliminate fast foods, soda, and candy
Limit fried foods, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, and sugar
Movement is so much more than just exercise! I see it as a daily self-care practice for the physical body. Diet is so much more than what we eat! I like the word nutrition better… Nutrition is how we nourish the body to keep it fueled and functioning efficiently. When are able to change our beliefs on what exercise and diet mean to us…and shift to refer to them movement and nutrition, we may begin to see a shift in our ability to prioritize our self- care.
The choice is yours! Will you choose to make the commitment to daily self- care? In making time now, to integrate and balance these practices, you have the potential to improve all aspects of your health moving forward. If you fail to make the time now, you will be forced to make the time later, but the chances of your later years being full of health and vitality are pretty slim!
Contact me today to see how I can help you work toward improving your health and well-being!