Balance Your Health
By Jules Delorme
“The best way to turn your hell into a heaven is to make the fall voluntary.” Joseph Campbell said that years ago. As someone who started out at a very young age in Wrestling and Judo, I learned very early on to accelerate into a fall to avoid injury and loss of control, so this piece of Campbell’s wisdom was literally a truth that lived in my body. I’ve always been accident prone. Learning how to fall down has saved my life, again quite literally, more times than I can possibly count. So, what does this have to do with fitness for everyone else? Well, as any Yoga or Pilates instructor will tell you, an important part of learning balance and stability is not to fight, but to relax into it.
The more you relax the easier it becomes to balance. And, while Yoga, Pilates and other such practices are wonderful, you can practice this every single day on your own. One of the things we tend to leave out of our fitness practice if we’re not part of an organized system that teaches it, is balance and stability. You don’t necessarily need fancy equipment, and you are never too old to begin practicing. In fact, one of the problems that we run into as we get older is that we can injure ourselves so much easier if we fall, and what this leads to is a fear of falling. You can spot it in many older people. It isn’t that they move much more slowly, but they become so much more careful just doing simple things like sitting down. The irony is that the fear leads to tension which makes it even more likely that you are going to hurt yourself. So, no matter what age you are, balance and stability practice should be part of your routine. It doesn’t require you to stand on your head or in Warrior’s Pose. You can start out with simple things like just lifting one foot an inch or so off the ground, leaning against the wall with one arm, and progressing towards basic planks or bridges. If you’re just starting out do it for just a few seconds and then try to go a little longer week by week – but don’t force it. The key to stability and good balance is to relax and breathe. Start out easy and slowly build up.
If you’re already incorporating balance of stability work into your practice don’t stop. It’ll serve you well as you get older. Do this enough and you will become less and less afraid of falling which will actually mean that, if you do happen to fall, you won’t hurt yourself nearly as badly. This is a good thing no matter what age you happen to be. You don’t have to do Judo, Wrestling, Yoga or Pilates. Learn to live Joseph Campbell’s words and you won’t just be less afraid, you’ll be healthier, and that has to be a good thing.
~ Jules Delorme is a Personal
Trainer & MMA Coach,