Hey everyone, how was your weekend? Get up to anything exciting?
I’ve just come back from a relaxing weekend on the coast. It was nice to get out of the city, enjoy the fresh ocean air, and feel the sand between my toes. I also had the pleasure of enjoying some morning yoga in the park complete with beach views. The session was a mix of balance, endurance, and breathing exercises. The instructor was highly knowledgeable and I found myself truly relaxed by the end of the class.
She was full of yogi knowledge and her metaphors for life and balance were especially powerful. One statement in particular resonated with me: ‘Our bodies are more intelligent, but our minds are more powerful’. She was referring to doing each pose at a level which suited your ability, and not compare yourself to others.
However, the quote can be applicable to other areas of your life, especially one of finding balance. Balance is something that many people struggle with, myself included. For many years I exercised avidly, sometimes for several hours, not giving myself sufficient rest. I could only keep this up for so long before my body started to get run down. I was overtraining and my immune system started to suffer. My body was screaming out for rest, but my mind wouldn’t listen.
Making this connection between my body and mind was a turning point for me. I needed to soften my ‘toughen up’ mentality and allow my body to heal. I took a hiatus from the gym, instead focusing on Pilates, and light walking. Physically my body felt better, but my mind struggled. The idea of not working up a sweat 5 times a week made me uneasy and my thoughts turned negative at times.
Sweating less and resting more is not the normal thing these days. In an effort to combat obesity and lifestyle related diseases, the media and government push the message ‘More exercise is better’. However, too much exercise can be just as detrimental as not enough. The key is balance.
But how do you find a happy medium? The secret is to listen to your body. It will send you the cues and signals, but you have to tune in. Some symptoms of overtraining include an impaired immune system, persistent joint pain, and extreme fatigue. As a general guide, try having at least one rest day per week, and mix up your training intensity. Try and incorporate low impact activities such as Pilates, yoga, and meditation, which focus on a mind – body connection. Learning how to calm the mind, stretch the body, and breath properly can be extremely cleansing.
So if your training routine is leaving you zapped instead of zippy, maybe it’s time to take a break. Listen to your intelligent body, calm your powerful mind, and live your most balanced life!
- What are your favourite low-impact activities?
- What do you like to do on your rest days?