The formula for a balanced life
Finding the right balance is important in many ways, and resilience and mental strength is particularly helpful when faced with difficult times. But how can you find balance and what role does sport play in this? We spoke with Luisa Heidelbach from our partner The Bodyworkers to hear her perspective on the impact of sports and the importance of nature and breaks.
Hi Luisa! If balance breeds contentment, what role does sport play and how can exercise contribute to physical and mental balance?
Studies show that people who exercise regularly lead happier and more satisfied lives. Sport produces hormones that have a positive effect on our mood, including happiness hormones dopamine and serotonin. That’s why we often feel euphoric after an intense workout and why sport contributes to greater life satisfaction both in the long and short term.
Does it make a difference what sport or activity you do when it comes to balance? Does one sport work best?
There isn’t ONE sport that makes you happy. In fact, for perfect balance, you shouldn’t focus on just one sport. Holistic training is about training endurance, strength and flexibility in equal measure.
Our sympathetic nervous system is activated during sports which means that our “flight-or-fight” mode kicks in. We’re optimally prepared for physical performance, our heart and breathing rate increases and our blood pumps to our muscles. However, it’s equally important to give our body the opportunity to relax again, rest and regenerate. Yoga, breathing exercises and mindfulness training can help with this.
So sport alone doesn’t achieve perfect balance. What else do we need to find balance in life?
Especially for people who like to do sports, regeneration should be an important component. Breaks are as much part of a good training plan as athletic training. Even though we’re often euphoric and happy after our workout, hormones like cortisol (stress hormone) are also released, and muscle soreness (micro injuries) and general (mental) exhaustion often occur. We should therefore pay attention to other areas of our lives and pursue hobbies, maintain friendships and focus on stress management and a balanced diet.
The Bodyworkers are all about having fun and being happy. What is your formula for balance? What five factors contribute to it?
MOVEMENT Sports play a huge role for us at The Bodyworkers. Whether it’s working out in Cardio Pilates or relaxing with Yin Yoga – movement makes us happy.
COMMUNITY Another important factor that we value very much is our community. It’s always fun to motivate each other and try new things together.
FOOD A healthy lifestyle includes a wholesome diet. On our website and Instagram you can find delicious and healthy recipes, but it’s important to find balance here – soul food is also part of a balanced diet.
NATURE Time in nature brings a lot of balance to our lives. In addition to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s always good to spend time in peace and quiet and fresh air, especially now spring is round the corner and we can feel the warm sun on our skin.
MINDFULNESS Sometimes the days just race by and we get stuck in a routine. This makes it all the more important to take time to pause in the moment, without being carried away by stress. For this, we rely on mindfulness training.
More and more people are recognizing the benefits of mindfulness. How do you integrate it into everyday life?
We live in a fast-paced society. We’re always available and our brains are constantly flooded with new stimuli. Whether it’s easy breathing exercise in the morning, mindful eating during your lunch break or a mindful walk home, anyone can integrate mindfulness into everyday life. The concept of mindfulness is scientifically proven to reduce stress and improve sleep and concentration.
Does it make a difference whether you exercise alone or with others?
On Maslow’s pyramid of needs, the need for social contact is right behind physiological needs (water, food, sleep, reproduction) and the need for security. To maintain social contact, to find a community and do something together contributes to personal development and helps create a fulfilling life. Accordingly, sports in a group, whether HIIT in a studio or soccer with a team, can create a sense of community and contribute to increased satisfaction and balance.
Thank you so much for your time, Luisa.
What is your formula for balance? And which aspects help you feel happy and fulfilled?