Towards the end of 2017, we ran a handful of events at CodeNode in Moorgate, London, focused on industry and leadership subjects like Hiring and Fintech. After a lengthy pause, I’m happy to say the…
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving” — Albert Einstein
The endless thoughts around what topic to write for my “Curiosity Project” made me feel like I was juggling everything at once, which gave me the idea to write about Balancing Life. This idea came from the analogy a great mentor and friend that once told me: “Life is like a chair that has four legs. All of which represents an important pillar in your life. You have your physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual pillars. Understand and take care of all your pillars and you will live a happy life”.
We all encounter times in our life when things are not going our way or when we are caught up with the busyness of life. Getting caught in this cycle leads to a path of self-neglect due to do the demands life puts on you or that you put upon yourself. However, we don’t need to go through those cycles empty-handed. There are plenty of tools that can help and are available in people, quotes, articles, books, and most abundantly in life experiences.
I will be attempting to write about all four pillars in details as the weeks go by. This week allows me to write about the physical pillar.
Physical Health / Imbalances
According to stats Canada, most Canadian are not reaching an appropriate level of daily physical activity (Statistics Canada, 2019). From 2016 to 2017, Statistics Canada reported that only 16.4% of adults were meeting the recommended amount of daily physical activity. According to the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP, 2020) adults must do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Dividing this number across the week and leaving a Sunday as a rest day gives a total of 25 minutes of physical activity per day. The fact that sometimes people cannot “find the time” to exercise, is worrying. This can be because the focus of a person is placed on how much responsibility a person has on their shoulders. For example, sometimes leaders of a family will take this route of self-neglect for the greater good, their family.
Oftentimes, a high level of inactivity can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which increases the chances of overeating, malnutrition, drug abuse, low self-esteem, and many other health risks. Obesity is one common issue that results from an inactive lifestyle. This can sometimes act as a bridge for many chronic health diseases as they slowly invade our bodies without us knowing. The percentage of obese people in Canada has grown twice as much in the adult and youth categories over the years (Government of Canada, 2013).
Another factor that is a product of a sedentary lifestyle is malnutrition. More so now, in the era of information, where people can have anything they want with the click of a button. Unfortunately, this concept of speed is being transmitted into nutrition, in which you see more people buying fast food or eating out instead of cooking at home. Even though socializing is a great way to enhance our reality, most of us are losing the ability to be self-sufficient when it comes to proper nutrition. The individual’s location, time-restrain, economic status, marital status, and emotional status will play a role in molding what we perceive as “good food”. The study of Karaca (2016) compared the socio-demographic and environmental effects between university students and parents who were doing sports against those who were not, and found that individuals who had parents and friends who were not related to sports tended to be less active by roughly 10–20% (Karaca, 2016). Unfortunately, all these variables can have a negative toll on most of us, making us lose balance in our physical health.
The study of Franco (2019) backs up the fact that sedentary behavior is linked to physical and mental health issues by demonstrating that sedentary behavior among university students was prevalent. The long hours of reading, writing, and other miscellaneous activities that require staring at a screen while being in a fixed position could do harm to your body if it is not responsibly managed. Hence why we must prioritize physical health and make it part of our lifestyle. However, we must be willing and open-minded to learn the things we do not know so we can appreciate life from another angle, from a healthier angle.
To each their own
In Calderwood’s study (2020), surveys were delivered to individuals to see which time of the day accommodated them the best so they can achieve their personal and work goals. He concluded that physical activity prior to work can give an individual a positive boost of energy throughout the day (Calderwood, 2020). The feeling of accomplishment and development makes us more prone to fall into a state of “flow”. A state of flow can be described as that moment of pure bliss when you become truly present and immersed in whatever you are doing. Thus, that energy can keep us moving in the direction in which we truly desire throughout the day. However, considering that not everybody is the same, these findings of time slots for physical activity can be moved according to your lifestyle and goals. It is not mandatory to do certain things, eat a certain way, or train at certain times, but it is encouraged to follow a standard so you can increase the longevity of your life.
In my perspective, all these guidelines and findings are meant to be flexible, not rules set in stone. All of us demand different things from the universe and vice versa, so if we find a way to create our own legs for a balanced chair to sit on, we will feel empowered and confident in ourselves. Liu K. (2018) demonstrated how important self-efficacy is in regard to the adherence and continuity of an active lifestyle. If you envision the end goal with a clear intention, confidence, and positive energy, you are more likely to continue to pursue that particular goal (Liu K.T., 2018). We must keep our heads high while attempting to take care of ourselves. It does not have to be a radical change, because that will not last long. We must remember that physical health, as well as life, will always have ups and downs, so all we can do is learn from our mistakes and know better for next time.
Physical health must be looked at differently, not as a goal, but as a journey.
I hope that through my lens of physical health you will envision your life being nurtured and enriched every time you connect with your body.
Calderwood, C. G. (2020). Understanding the Relationship Between Prior to End-of-Workday Physical Activity and Work-Life Balance: A Within-person Approach. Journal of Applied Psychology.
Chaves, F. D. (2019). Sedentary Behavior Among University students: a systematic review. Rev Bras Cineantropom Desempenho Hum, 21:e56485.
Karaca, A. C. (2016). Physical Activity with regard to Socio-Demographic Variables and Decisional Balance Perceptions for exercise among university students. Journal of Physical Education and Sport (JPES), 16(3), Art 147, pp. 932–939.
Liu K.T., K. Y. (2018). Application of Transtheoretical Model on Behavioral Changes, and Amount of Physical Activity Among University’s Students. Frontiers in Psychology, 9:2402.
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