Melissa Powex • 2nd March 2017


Balance is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady’.

I fully believe in balance. I really like the message that is spread about balance in the health and fitness world – eating cake, having alcohol, not focussing on only one aspect of life to be ‘healthy’.

Balance – however is different for every person. I think that balance for someone who works out every day and should take a few rest days and eat normal food, not cutting out food groups is a great positive way to engage in a physical and mentally healthy life.

Balance for someone else is choosing to make healthy food choices instead of more unhealthy food choices. Choosing to join a gym and actually attend. Choosing to walk an extra tube or bus stop instead of skipping exercise.

This concept of ‘balance’ in the health and fitness world I think misses or isolates a large group of people who do not value the importance of being fit and health and balance health.

Health and fitness has so many positive benefits – I’m sure I don’t need to reiterate them, but it can give you a goal to focus on (Fitness to observe progress), it can be to improve a health condition (heart health, cardiovascular health, joint health, muscle health, organ health, mental health), increased endorphins, sense of achievement the list goes on and on and on.

However, I believe that this idea of balance is also threatening to those who are starting out. Small changes to a lifestyle (not getting take away each night….that’s been me!) is a significant change to someone’s life.

Walking to the gym and stepping inside the gym is intimidating to someone that isn’t a regular and may not really know what to do while there and maybe is too embarrassed to be there.

Essentially...positive vibes yes please!! I’m all about them, but this ‘balance’ idea, needs to be addressed in a realistic way – not just at people that are already in relatively healthy habits.

Creating healthy habits are difficult. Healthy habits take time. Healthy habits don’t happen over night and the effect that healthy habits have on mental health are hugely beneficial. But when you compare this idea of balance to different people, I think a more appropriate and generic way to sum up a ‘balanced’ life is… creating healthy habits.

Balance includes, giving space to negative thoughts and feelings too. If you feel that you need to constantly be positive and happy, you are not normal. Everyone has down days and balance includes this normal, natural, feeling a bit fed up, worried about life. Balance includes acknowledging these feelings, figuring out what to do with them (whether that means making a change – or sitting with the difficult feelings), pushing them away won’t make them go away. 

Maybe it’s much of a muchness and I’m splitting hairs – but I feel that words have high importance and relevance in how people interpret things and how people are made to feel.