How do you train physically for balance? How do you find balance overall in your life when it comes to work, fitness, family, and everything else? Trainer Cheryl Coppa shares fun and simple ways to do this.
By Cheryl Coppa
Physical Balance -
We know that it declines with age.
It’s that magic number of 30 again! By the age of 30, we start to decline in physical balance. This goes hand in hand with the loss of muscle we start to experience at this age. It’s the same scenario, unless you USE it you LOSE it. This is just how our bodies work. They are conditioned to lose it if they don’t use it.
I know we are all aware of the severe risks and dangers of falling, as we probably have encountered them already with loved ones. Not only is the fall itself a huge risk, but the complications that come following the fall. Illness contracted in the recovery process or place of care. My grandma had a few falls which she recovered from. But, her last fall, she broke her pelvis, and while in the care she contracted something else which ended up being too much for her body to handle. I’m sure so many of us can share a similar life tragedy.
Thankfully, this is something we can combat through fitness. We do this the same way we combat muscle loss. In Ola Ka Ola, all of our classes and programs are designed around the female body over 40, and balance training is already incorporated in your classes and maybe you don’t even realize it! I know I like to be productive and always add different challenges to my classes.
For example; You could be doing a cardio class and then all of a sudden you are doing a single knee pull, practicing your balance, even if you are using a wall or chair for support, you are putting in the practice.
Same with strength training, maybe we are working one side of the body at a time which then forces your core to kick in and stabilize you. Even basic strength exercises like lunges. Do you know what I’m talking about, you sometimes lean off to the side and your trainer reminds you to stay upright and engage your core!
Of course, Yoga always incorporates balance.
I could go on and on with scenarios you will find in our classes. So the good news for you is, you don’t have to do separate training or separate programs to work on balance because we are already doing it!
Two Big Components of Balance Are The Core and Feet
Our core is actually our stabilizing group of muscles. Another reason why it is SO CRUCIAL for all of us to know and understand how to use these muscles. It is quickly coming to the front of fitness programs (especially for women ), learning how to correctly engage your deep core muscles. It has been left behind and skipped over until now. Once we know better we can do better. You can learn how to properly engage and use your CORE in our Beginner’s Program and our Core & Pelvic Floor Restore Program, so this strength and balance can serve you in EVERYTHING YOU DO!
FEET - One of the reasons I always train barefoot (Prior Blog on this topic HERE if you want to know more.) The feet are very important for balance and posture because they are full of proprioceptive sensors. These sensors are constantly sending signals to the brain which the brain sends back to the spinal column, then to the muscles telling them when to contract and when to relax. You will also find if you do our Core & Pelvic Floor Program, we always pay attention to our feet. Everything is connected, the body is just amazing, isn’t it?
So this part is easy, just attend your regular scheduled Ola classes and know you are getting your balance training in!
"Balance training is incorporated in all your Ola Ka Ola classes and maybe you don’t even realize it, since all our classes and programs are designed around the female body over 40." Trainer Cheryl Coppa
Want to Put Yourself to The Test?
Try this little exercise to see how you do, practice, and see if you can get the time longer! Practice the tree pose on each side. Start with 5-10 seconds and work your way up, even just a couple of seconds at a time. Can you practice your way up to 30 seconds on each side?
A. Hands on hips elevate one heel
B. Below the knee hold
C. Above the knee hold
D. Arms overhead
(on any of these options you can close your eyes to add an extra challenge).
Not only does this challenge your physical balance but it also challenges your mind to keep calm and focused. This is just one way to challenge your balance, so many fun different ways like this video here:
Here is a fun way to put your balance to the test and keep it in check
Have fun and have a measuring point so you can see your process. I like to set yoga pose challenges for myself so I can see the difference and progress in the ability of my body.
What About Overall Balance in Life?
This can be a little trickier. We live in a time where you have to do it all and there are not enough hours in a day. We just have to learn how to prioritize what needs to be done now and rest assured the rest of those tasks will still be there the next day. I fall into this pattern sometimes and my husband always tells me time is a made-up thing. And I’m over here like, well not in my world! LOL, Everything is scheduled and done at a certain time and I have to make sure everyone is where they need to be all around these times. I think this is the world most of us live in. So how can we catch our breath and find balance? My husband told me about - Triage approach. Triage - “the preliminary assessment of patients or casualties in order to determine the urgency for their need for treatment required.“ We can take this approach with our to-do list in a day/week/month. What is urgent and needs to be done now? What is important and needs to be done soon? What is important but can wait?
"The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” And these are always changing.
Here is a visual approach to this thinking you can use in your everyday life and change as needed:
Even just having this written down can ease stress and take a load off of the brain. We have more control and power than we give ourselves credit for.
“Balance is not something you find, it’s something you create.” That physical balance, that life balance, and that mental balance. Through movement, forms of fitness, and meditation we can tackle much of this at the same time. And just like anything it takes practice to make progress.
Check out Yoga instructor Sabrina Marr's uplifting Good Luck meditation - the perfect way to reduce stress and gain inner balance. Try it and see for your self:
Good Luck Meditation With Sabrina Marr
Let's find a healthy balance!
About Cheryl Coppa
✔️ A certified Core Confidence Specialist (Core and Pelvic Floor retraining)
✔️ A certified Personal Trainer specializing in women's fitness over 40
✔️ Low-Pressure Fitness / Hypopressive certified by creator Dr. Tamara Rial
✔️ Pre/postnatal corrective exercise specialist
✔️Instructor of the Pelvic Floor Health program, Ola Ka Ola
✔️ 40 years young, wife & mother of 3