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By: Helena Monica

When planning your post-holiday workout approach, stop and think twice about what you’re going to commit to. Let’s face it, whatever workout you do, it’s your commitment that is going to get you the results you are looking for. Any trainer will confirm that! But what do you really need for your body to be in balance, look good, and be pain-free? It is common for one to go to the places they feel comfortable with. We see the familiar faces, we do the familiar routine, we know what to wear, and basically know how our body will respond. But is that what your body really needs?

A healthy, fit body is a body in balance. It is body that has the form from strength and the movement of flexibility. It is a body that is challenged to be strong while simultaneously challenged to breathe freely. It is a body that stands straight and is pain free. It is a body that sleeps well and craves a balanced diet without too many restrictions. It naturally craves the right foods rather than being imprisoned by an overly strict diet to obtain a desired result. It is relaxed in and out of movement while carrying a form of structure that feels strong and stable.

The idea of balance is not a one-sided point of view. If we spend too much time focusing on our outer form, what we see in the mirror, we can get lost and consumed there when the concept of balance is much bigger than that. The systems and organs of your body play a massive role in how you look and feel. They lend to your energy levels, your attitude, and even play a role in your freewill, which is the very thing that will help you stick with your original commitment of finding your idea of health in the first place. Your hormones affect your moods, your brain affects your nervous system, and your digestion affects your vitality. It is so much more than muscles and heart rate, though they certainly have their place within the equation of balance.

It is very healthy for one to step out of their comfort zone both physically and mentally. We have all been stuck in a rut before in one form or another and thought, for one too many days, of how to get out of it. For some of us, it is as basic as finding a fitness routine, period! For others it is about taking a new look at what we believe being fit and healthy actually is. Look at your body from inside out, front to back, and top to bottom. Consider the entire picture before committing to a program. A fitness program should feel challenging, but not overly strict. It should resonate with a part of you that is not hell-bent, but rather is speaking to an inner knowing that says, “This is difficult, but feels right and good.” It should be surrounded with folks that you feel good about being around—avoiding gossip and ego and instead enjoying camaraderie and honor.

A multitude of other perspectives and points of view are all part of creating balance. For example, if you are indoors too much, you might consider walking in the evening or hiking out in nature. Maybe getting in the pool and feeling the freshness of water will bring a certain needed element to your equation. Consider adding a long stretching class to balance out a muscle-building routine or some Tai Chi if you are always on the go. Whatever counteractive choice you decide to bring in will likely feel odd, but that odd feeling is an indicator you’re on your way to creating a balanced body.

So as you go forth into the New Year, paint a fresh picture for a new you. Write down your objectives to make it clear to yourself what your needs are, not your desires. This picture could likely lead you into some surprising adventures, some new physical sensations, and have you walking through the doors of places you never thought you would go. You might open areas of you that have been closed for far too long, creating a new type of vitality, a new type of strength, and a new relationship with yourself and what you deemed to be fitness.

The ({San Joaquin Valley, what applies} is bubbling with new energy as our community evolves. It is the individual that paints the picture of health, not the whole. So make this year unique. Broaden your horizons and see yourself through a new lens as you paint a fresh picture for yourself to enjoy. Your relationship with yourself is very much affected by your choices. Make a new choice for yourself and enjoy the freshness of doing something different. Make a masterpiece of balance.

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