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Finding (and Maintaining) Balance

Funny things have come from writing this blog … observations. Little things here or there that spark an idea and I think “I need to tuck that away” for future topics. Obviously writing them down would be helpful and probably more productive, but nevertheless, some things keep reappearing in my conscience, and I know it’s something I should talk about. This week, that’s balance … the physical kind. 

As those of you who read PLANK know, I, probably like most of you, wave in and out of my commitment to health and fitness. But, as I get older, I see all around me how important it is. Even though I lose my way sometimes, I always manage to find my way back. Now in my 50s (best decade so far!), I find that everything goes to crap pretty fast. But, if I commit to eating right and, more importantly, EXERCISING as many days a week as I can, I can pull it back from the edge.

I am lucky in that I work with so many fabulous people who all take amazing care of themselves. They set such a high bar that it inspires me – they show me that not only is it achievable, but also maintainable. Yes, it is hard to get there, but I know it’s possible!

I have talked endlessly about the importance of recommitting every day, and this no joke! I truly believe that, in the end, we only have ourselves. We have to find the strength to change our own lives … to find that something inside us that doesn’t give up, and doesn’t give in to the little voice in our head that says, “Forget it, I’m too far gone!”  Instead, commit to making your journey on this earth the healthiest and most fulfilling possible. 

Sometimes, when I’ve let my weight and exercise go, I get this weird, scared feeling. Not scared of where I am, but fear of doing the work … of eating right and going to exercise. A fear of getting back in that saddle. It’s almost like a wrecking ball on my lap. But, I’ve learned time and time again that as soon as I find the fortitude and courage to get back in the game, that fear goes right away! And you can see and, more importantly, feel the changes right away too!

I have gotten off on a tangent here, because what I really wanted to focus on is balance. Balance is important is all aspects of life … but today I’m specifically talking about physical balance. In my Cardio Barre classes, a great deal of time is spent on balance. And, as my balance has gotten better, I absolutely see the value in it.  

Over the holidays, I was catching up with a relative who I absolutely adore. She has always watched her weight, and she still runs a mile or two several times a week. But, she shared with me that she has noticed her balance isn’t very good any more. That really scared me! Balance is so important because, as we get older, falls can really take us down (no pun intended). How many older people do you hear about who fall and break a hip, and it leads to disaster and sometimes the beginning of the end. It seems to me that the older we get, the more important it is to work on improving and maintaining our balance.

I suggested to this relative that maybe she needs to find a yoga class, but she said she had no time. So, I suggested that she find ways to work on her balance in her everyday activities. Like how about stand on one foot while you brush your teeth or wash the dishes? I even find myself doing it while I wait in line at the grocery store.

I know that life can get busy, but I encourage each of you to find time to squeeze this in … whenever and wherever that might be. I’m not a doctor (well I do play one on TV … haha), but I saw this great article in Prevention, 8 Ways to Improve Your Balance, with some helpful ideas, so I thought I’d pass it along.

Let’s do it together and cheers to our collective health!

9 Comments

  1. Stacey AKA BraveWidowMama

    I’m in my 50s too and balance is definitely important. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and had a lower back fusion a few years ago. I woke up from that surgery completely numb on my left hip from thigh to toes.

    It took over a year of PT to walk properly. I still have numbness from the knee down, but am grateful to have recovered so well.

    As a result, physical therapy and balance work are a permanent part of my life. I’m not able to do as much Yoga as I used to since the back doesn’t bend that way anymore, but do what I can. I also love working with a Bosu and do my best to keep my legs strong.

    My goal is to stay on my feet!

  2. Nice blog. I needed to hear that today. I to go back and forth with my workouts. I’m going back to the gym TODAY!

  3. Love this! I totally agree that in addition to working on our cardio & strength-balance & flexibility is key as we grow older. I’m coming up on the big 50 but can honestly say I am in the best shape of my life-having wasted some of my 30s & 40s being very overweight & out of shape-waning in & out of healthy eating & exercise, as you talk about above. However, a true lifestyle change 2 years ago has led me to this point. Letting go of guilt is key…balance in everything…and finding a lunch time yoga class 2 times a week has really helped me in my journey. I think the biggest goal now is try to grow old full of grace…grace for what I have been given emotionally, spiritually & physically. Grace for the friends & family for which I have been blessed. Grace for all the laugh lines I earned honestly…what a journey to get those. Grace for the ability to move, be strong & enjoy what my body gives to me. I hope my 50s are my best decade too Mary Beth! Thanks for your blog…and always showing your grace.

  4. Well, I AM a doctor (😆) and I totally agree! I know Cheryl (another family doctor you’ve met) would second that!!
    Terrific topic. As we age, balance is so important. At age 80, if you fall and break a hip, there’s an 80% chance you’ll die of something related in the next YEAR!
    Balance is key👍🏻

  5. Joanne Conte

    Actually, I am in my mid sixties. Should have proof read before sending!! Was it a Freudian slip!

  6. Joanne Conte

    Thanks Mary Beth. I am in my mid fifties, and I am trying to eat better, and a friend and I power walk about 4 miles at least four times a week. I actually miss it when we don’t walk for whatever reason.

  7. Thank you so much for posting this. In my 40s, I am already learning how important it is to stay active. I have been doing rehab for health problems related to being too sedentary. I’m trying to do little exercises during every day tasks. This really helps me! Thank you for being so honest and inspiring.

  8. I love this and finding balance is definitely a challenge. I struggle with this all of the time. However, on a funnier note, I pulled up the Prevention article and my family and I just stood in the living room testing our balance. Yes, we’re weird, but we laughed for quite a while at ourselves. Thanks, MaryBeth for these blogs. They are something I look forward to weekly!

  9. Oh my goodness did I ever need to read this right now! I can relate to your whole post including not feeling like I have time for exercise and concerned about balance recently too. Thank you for this post! I’ll check that article out too!

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