Finding Balance Between Strength and Flexibility
Your body is engineered for balance. Finding equilibrium between strength and flexibility as well as effort and ease optimizes potential in both running and in life. Strength is dependent on flexibility — you can’t access the full power of your muscles if they lack range of motion. And flexibility is dependent on strength — you can’t safely access your range of motion without stability.
The reality is that between workouts, work, and life in general, balance can feel elusive. So, how do we define it, and, more importantly, how do we sustain it? One of my favorite definitions of balance (via Richelle Ricard) is “… a constant and ever-evolving correction back toward center.” Ultimately, it’s up to each of us to continually redefine balance at the intersection of strength and flexibility in a way that supports us in achieving our goals.
Here’s a few simple things to help you find more balance daily…
Pay attention. The more aware you are of how your body feels day-to-day and moment-to-moment, the more readily you can address tweaks and pains before they become full-on illness or injury.
Be willing. That awareness is useless unless you’re willing to take action. Is your foot too sore to run on? Is your body craving rest? Do your hips need more stability? Be honest about what’s happening and stay willing to respond accordingly, even if that sometimes means scrapping your original plan.
Use your strength to pursue your flexibility. Going hard comes more easily to most of us than resting easy does. Apply the same focus and commitment you give your strength work to becoming more flexible in both body and mind.
Do the small things. Realize that even just a few minutes spent consciously countering the demands you usually place on your body will go a long way toward keeping your bod balanced. Five minutes of anything — whether you need to work on your hamstring flexibility or your hip stability — is better than doing nothing.
As the Spring Equinox approaches it's the perfect time to find balance. What will you do to commit to balance today?
Photography by: Claire Pepper