Balance is equal amounts – not too much – not too little.
Excess and Deficiency are the terms that we use to evaluate where we have those in our lives.
Excess is normally an addiction or obsession.
Obsession in Chinese five elements is an ‘unbalanced Metal’ characteristic, Metal likes order, but left unchecked will become too much looking for perfection.
In the West we call this Obsessive Compulsive and leave it there. Traditional Chinese Medicine knows that the Fire element controls Metal and needs rebalancing.
We have all five elements in our character but some are stronger than others. Let’s look at our lifestyle imbalances.
Excess. Many runners, cyclists and gym goers may start to identify when contemplating the number of hours spent doing thee activities.
Runners, in fact, suffer the most as this is the hardest sport for the body to deal with, and giving the body time to rest and recover is normally overtaken by the ‘need’ to run. As a guide to balance 90-120 mins would be my upper limit for a running activity.
How many times a week? well again if you are doing this more than three times you are putting your body at risk of injury.
The number of hours can also affect your family life if your sport comes first…
Deficiency, on the other hand, is a total lack of activity that gets your heart and lungs racing – this should be a minimum weekly occurrence!
20 mins a week can be enough to reduce mortality by 20%, as well as increasing HDL cholesterol that improves heart health.
Food is the next big topic, excess again is a big issue. Eating too much causes a lot of stress on the body internally, also if that food is not being used for exercise it will be likely stored as fat.
The wrong types of foods can cause both deficiency and excess.
Fast food, white breads, pastas, cakes, biscuits and sugary drinks all leave our bodies with a deficiency of nutrients, vitamins and minerals but an excess of sugars, vegetable oils, e-numbers flavourings and colourings.
Overeating, meats, fish, eggs and dairy will cause an increase in LDL cholesterol (plaque build up in arteries), phlegm, weight gain, liver damage and is unsustainable for the planet.
70% full is the aim, a variety of vegetables from that season, root veg in Winter and soups, leafy salads in the Summer.
Western thinking is more is better but a little bit of everything is much healthier
Drinking too much water will also imbalance the body, diluting the sodium in the cell – over drinking in running events has actually killed
Here is again an more is better attitude when it comes to fasting or intermittent fasting, I recommend nightly 12 hours from your last meal to breaking your fast overnight.
Excess fasting for longer will just make you over hungry and you are likely to eat too much when you do break the fast.
12 hours gives your digestive system enough time to do its work and you should be starting the day with a bowel movement.
Excess visits to the bathroom also raise the question, are you eating too much and or too much of one food that will cause this.
On the flip side if you are only going once a week you will have a deficiency of fibre rich plant foods and too many animal products.
Very early mornings, late nights, working may hours trying to fit all of this in and something will breakdown in this ‘excess’ situation – it is not a sustainable lifestyle.
The less time we have to sleep and recover, the more stress hormone is produced and this can cause weight gain and when you do eventually take a break, school holidays, for example, your body then stops producing life-saving hormones and the window is open to any pathogen – you get sick.
As mentioned disease comes from the excess of something followed by the deficiency of another, result out of balance.
These ideas can carry over to many other areas in our lives such as how much we spend on new gadgets, bikes and watches being out of balance with how much we spend on good nutrition.
The drive to improve the popularity of a group walking and running and the safety of those involved. Even paid events take money over safety when using roads that are open.
Sitting is the disease of the 21 century and is causing our bodies to be out of balance, the glutes are the main muscles that suffer and then other muscles are used to drive us forward, these smaller muscles will then eventually be overused and breakdown.
Lifestyle is key here, thinking about what we do in excess and reducing that, what we have in deficiency and increase this also.
If you are looking for some help planning your fitness and nutrition, then book a consultation with me and we can get you a balanced plan that will improve your health and give you the tools to balance your lifestyle.
Call 07939 019 030
This topic is also avaible as a group talk for running clubs to organise their planning for race season and beyond, please get in touch to book.