Friday, September 7, 2012

A Recipe for Finding Balance

Can you really apply the scriptures to all aspects of your life?  Do the scriptures have anything to say about helping your body be more healthy and fit?  The ancient prophet Nephi says to "liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning"(1Nephi 19:23).  I will be bold in my attempt to liken the scriptures to health and fitness in this instalment of:
Can Scripture Power Help Me Be Healthy?

Have you ever stood in the middle of a teeter-toter and tried to balance one foot on either side of the fulcrum?  It can be hard to find the sweet spot where there is even weight distribution.  It takes a ton of muscle coordination to find balance in uneven terrain.

Years ago I sprained my ankle.  OK, really I have sprained my ankle no less than 6 times, but a few years ago I was training for a marathon and wanted my ankle to heal properly, so I visited my trusty physical therapist Kirk.  (Have you seen a pattern here?  Is Erica injury prone or what?!?)  What did Kirk say I need to improve?
1. Range of motion
2. Stability

I was floored at how many exercises were designed to teach my muscles how to react to and compensate for imbalances and instability in my surroundings.

I learned to stand on one foot and balance for 1 minute.  Then I graduated to standing on a trampoline and balancing on one foot for one minute.  For post-graduate work, Kirk pulled out a bosu ball.  (think half-sphere)  While I immediately thought of all the wonderful push ups and crunches you could do on this contraption, Kirk had me practice simply standing on the ball.

I started out like this cute lady just trying to keep one foot off the ground while still staying on the ball.  Luckily there was a wall nearby to support me.  It seemed like weeks before this became easy.  All the muscles in my feet and body had to constantly react to the feed back my feet were sending them.

Bosu Balanced Squat
I got strong and the muscles in my feet, legs, and core learned how to compensate for stretched out tendons.

Soon I was balancing like a pro.

Finding balance and compensating for life's ups and downs and ever changing terrain can seem down right impossible.  I learned in Physical Therapy that balance was never isolated to one muscle group and could never be achieved with little thought or effort.

I was surprised to find mention of balance in the scriptures.  While this Proverb might have reference to buisness transactions and weights and measures, it can be applicable to us too.

"A false balance is an abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight.....The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his ways, but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness."  (Proverbs 11:1,6, emphasis added)

(I giggled when I read this.  Really Lord?  Just a few verses after talking about being balanced you say that the wicked (morally unbalanced) will fall.  Who says God doesn't have a sense of humour.)

So what is the recipe for balance?

Jesus Christ taught that if you are to embark on a life of serving him, serve with "all your heart, might, mind and strength." (D&C 4:2) If we are to begin any challenge-- even finding balance in life-- we must face it with a full determination, using all our resources, mental capacity, and muscle strength.  It is as simple, complicated, no SIMPLE as that--  Use all of your resources.  Engage all your mental and physical strength and just hold on as long as you can.  Maybe even a full minute.

Another Balance Exercise:
Need to recover from an ankle injury or just become more stable on your feet?  Here is a great exercise.  No Bosu Ball needed.  (you just might want one anyway-- I do at least)  Try this exercise when you can balance on one foot for 30 seconds at a time.

Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place a cup or another object 1 foot to the right of your right leg.  Raise the left foot off the ground.  While keeping your core engaged (abs tucked in and under, shoulder blades together and  down), squat down (bum goes back- Keep knees over your toes) and reach to your right and try to touch the cup with your left hand.  Don't fall over now!  Use all your resources to keep steady on that foot.

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