The secret to achieving balance

Posted on August 14, 2013


achieve balance
Kayaking! Well, that was the answer for me. I love it when a hobby teaches you more than you expected. I knew kayaking was good for my body and my mind, but I’m finding it’s also good for teaching me more life lessons. This time, the lesson is all about balance.

Here’s how kayaking has taught me balance:

1. Physical balance.

You need to stay on an even keel when kayaking. And, not only when you’re actually kayaking, but when you’re getting into and out of the boat. As you try to get into the boat, the boat is rocking. You’re holding the paddles, the water may be cold and you’re trying to get into the boat without tipping over. Yep, you need balance and a strong core to do this without falling into the water.

My lesson learned is that you need to take it slowly and really focus on what you’re doing.  No multi-tasking for this activity!

2. Activity balance.

I always get up extra early on the days we’re scheduled to go out kayaking. I’m excited to get out and literally jump out of bed, ready to start the day. In fact, I have so much positive energy, that I used to also do an hour or so of intense exercise before kayaking. Well, I’ve learned this isn’t the best way. When I’d do that type of exercise, I’d be energized for a short period of time, but then I would gradually lose steam. While out paddling, I’d get tired and didn’t enjoy the day as much.

So, lesson learned is that I now do some gentle stretching or yoga or some tai chi to start my day.

3. Post activity balance.

We have had such glorious weather this summer, we’ve gone out for some long paddles, almost 3 hours. The next day, I would definitely feel it in my upper body!

Even though I’m following a pretty intense strength training rotation right now, I make sure that I don’t do a weight session the day after kayaking either. When I did, I felt tired the whole time and didn’t lift as heavy as I normally do.

The simple fix is that I may do some easy cardio (not Insanity) or more yoga. I find this is the perfect way to start my day. I’m still feeling a little tired from kayaking, but this type of exercise gives me the energy to get through the day.

My lesson learned is that it’s not all or nothing.  By doing some gentle exercises, I still feel energized.

I am so grateful that kayaking has taught me that gentler activity can be just as beneficial to my mind and body. I am also slowly learning to create balance in other parts of my life. For me, balance is one of those concepts that I understand intellectually, but have trouble putting it into practice.

How do you create balance in your life?

Photo is courtesy of Geisha Boy 500’s Flickr Photostream, under Creative Commons Licensing.