Body and Brain are Crucial to Balance
A HEALTHY WORK-LIFE balance means different things to each of us. My emphasis is on a balanced body whereby each part of the body works with another to create and maintain stability. So, achieving a healthy work-life balance is a realistic objective when the body is balanced. Various studies explain why exercise is so beneficial in achieving a better work-life balance: people who exercise regularly have a higher sense of self-efficacy.
The actor Delroy Lindo has been one of Hollywood’s most recognisable supporting actors for decades. He swims two miles daily, five days a week, keeping him physically and mentally strong. “I’ve always felt that the thing that is in my control is the maintenance of my body—my physical and mental abilities,” Lindo says. “I am acutely aware that if I’ve had a good physical workout before I start working, I feel sharper and more prepared to work.” “I find it very Zen,” says the actor.
Physical balance aids in preventing falls, whereas mental balance aids in prioritising tasks. It is something that most of us intuitively grasp. We don’t realise how vital physical balance is and how exercising our physical balance may help us enhance our mental health.
As a martial artist, you stand in position knowing you’re stable and safe and that, at that moment, personal confidence grows. Feeling shaky or unsteady has the opposite effect, making any confidence level feel as rickety as a structure built on shaky ground. The more confidently and comfortably you can stand, the better your balance. This self-assurance quickly spreads to other areas of life.
There’s a reason why the phrase ‘competence fosters confidence’ exists. Because you gain confidence as you develop any skill, your mental health improves. This is an example of mastering a recipe, excelling in sport, and experiencing significant improvements through balance-building activities.
Physical balance is a skill that you can improve with effort rather than an inborn trait. Learning a single-leg balance on a rebounder is challenging. Still, with repetition over time, the confidence you gain from improving your balance impacts your mental health.
The limbic system can help you escape physical danger, but it’s terrible at distinguishing between different types of risk, and it can cause a lot of stress on your body and mind if it’s overactive. For example, most people have felt wobbly for an hour or longer after receiving a massive surge of adrenaline due to almost collapsing. Because you feel solid and protected, your limbic system experiences less panic when you have a good balance. Fewer panic attacks equal less stress on your body and mind.
The capacity to properly focus can feel like a superpower in today’s distracting environment. There are numerous strategies to improve focus, including those on this list. Still, it’s difficult to concentrate when you’re feeling unsteady or concerned about something most people take for granted, such as the ability to stand or move without falling.
Improving your physical balance might help you concentrate better. You’ll notice that your focus improves when you’re not distracted or concerned about maintaining your balance.
THE GOOD STUFF
This five-minute routine is best performed in front of a mirror to maintain good form. Athletes without injury have found that this routine helps to prevent muscle and joint damage and improves performance.
Using a rebounder makes balance movements twice as hard, making your form twice as bad, but the outcome will be you being twice as strong. You will feel the sensitivity of movement as you access those hidden sensations inside of you.
- Stand with feet parallel, hip distance apart. Shift your weight to your right leg, so the left foot is lightly touching the floor. Either extend your arms for balance or keep them at your sides. Look straight ahead, roll your shoulder blades back and down, and your back straight.
- Raise the left foot off the floor. Maintain your body position – shoulders back, chest open, back straight, and head and neck in a neutral position aligned with your spine.
- When you can comfortably accomplish (2), repeat the same sequence and slowly lift your straight arms in front of you to shoulder height. Inhale slowly and deeply as you raise your arms, and exhale slowly and deeply as you lower your arms to your sides again. Repeat five times.
- When you can do (3), try the same sequences with your eyes closed
How Long Should You be Able to Balance?
The following numbers were from studying different age groups who balanced on one leg to find a normal range. People under 40 averaged 45 seconds with eyes open and 15 seconds with eyes closed. Those aged 40–49 averaged 42 seconds with eyes open and 13 seconds with eyes closed.
Five minutes of balance exercise on a rebounder produces a sensation that lasts far longer than the time spent exercising. When confronted with a difficult task at work or home, that sense of accomplishment may provide you with the extra boost you need to overcome the hurdle.