The Balanced Body – A Mind-Body Lifestyle
Do you have a Baby Boomer Body™? I sure do! We were the first generation to exercise just because it felt good. We were the jogger generation. Remember “no pain, no gain,” in the 80s, and thong leotards…with matching leg warmers?!
Thank goodness we’ve reached our fabulous 50s! We are wiser now about working out.
We know it is important to wear exercise apparel that fits well and feels good. And, we can still look great because there are so many attractive choices available in activewear! I know, personally, that I am at my strongest now because I practice a balanced and integrated fitness program.
Physical fitness is a metaphor for life. Just go to a yoga class and do a tree pose and ask: How balanced am I today?
How do you get a balanced body? INTEGRATE! Our bodies and brains crave diversity, and an integrated fitness program is key to satisfying all the body’s needs. Because of our physiologies – the mechanics of our muscles and bones, metabolism and right/left brain facilities – we are programmed for a great variety of movement, such as ballroom dancing, performing surgery, mountain biking, carrying our children, or painting a masterpiece. So, it only stands to reason that a beneficial exercise program, that produces results, will address all your body’s needs and strengths.
How do you create an integrated workout? I like the pure techniques of Pilates, strength training, cardio training, and yoga; those statistically proven to provide health and fitness benefits for your whole body. Think of your fitness program as a balanced diet of activities.
Start with Pilates, which builds your body up from its foundation by focusing on proper skeletal alignment and strengthening the torso’s core muscles. Use this as a framework to create a sculpture that is uniquely you! If you miss this step, you could injure yourself. For instance, if you work out with weights using improper body alignment, your body will compensate by using the muscles of the back. Ouch! And, the brain work? Pilates is great way to get your mind into its body.
The genius of Joseph Pilates’ technique lies in the dialogue you have with your body – the mind-body connection. It opens up the pathways of your brain, directing your body to move into specific positions with control and concentration, instead of letting your body move in habitual patterns. Think about it. We move through our days without being conscious of how we get from one position to another. Practicing control, concentration and precision is the foundation of re-educating yourself about your body. It’s the essence of being more mindful. Pilates teaches us to become AWARE without judgment, just observing our bodies as we move. It creates physical awareness that translates into mental and emotional awareness. When my body feels strong – I am strong!
You will want to add resistance weight training, to your workout, to build healthy bones and fat-burning muscle. Using free weights helps train our muscles for natural movement, as opposed to sitting inside a caged unit at the gym.
Get your heart pumping – dance, hike, mountain bike, or walk on a treadmill. The choices are endless! Studies have proven that cardio training done to music is more successful because we will stick with it longer. So, turn it up and dance!
Balance and flexibility work – Yoga. The benefits of yoga are vast, ranging from pain management to decreased stress levels. It’s your body’s reward for all the hard work!
What you find in your body you will find in your life. So get up and get moving! When your body feels strong, you are strong! When your body can stretch, you'll be flexible in your life! When you can achieve just one more minute of cardio training, you will feel accomplished. Integrate variety to spice up your exercise program!
By Kate Titus, ACSM, ACE., Nia
Personal & Pilates Trainer
reprinted from 50fabulous.com