A Test for Life Balance

I'm still studying for my Continuing Education Exam (less than two weeks away!) and learning new ways to help my private and group clients.  In my studying, I find interesting parallels between the physical body and our daily life.  Here's one reflection to help your body and how you live your life.

First, the basics of the physical side of this comparison:  A new assessment came out a few years ago called the "McGill's Torso Muscular Endurance Test Battery."  It is three tests of your core endurance that are compared with each other.  

Can you hold the front of your core (trunk flexion) steady and for how long?  (Below is a picture of the test.)


Then, test how long you can hold a lateral plank.  (See the picture below.)


Last, can you contract your trunk extensors and for how long?  (Demonstrated below.)


This battery of tests indicates your back health and chance of future back pain.  Here is the catch.  It is NOT about how STRONG you are, meaning how much weight you can lift.  It is about how much you can ENDURE, measured in time.  

Also, it is NOT about how "well" you do on one test.  It is about the ratio (the balance) BETWEEN the tests.  For example, if someone held the flexion test for three minutes, I'd say "wow!"  But, if that same person held the extensor test for two minutes, even though that sounds great, the ratio is flipped of what it should be.  (The extensors should have more endurance than the flexors.)  The actual numbers do not matter as much as the proper balance between them.  In these tests, balance does not mean equal, but correct ratios.

So, what does this have to do with life?  You've probably already put it together.

Is your physical life dominating your experience right now?  Are you neglecting relationships?  Perhaps you are investing so much time in your relationships that you are not taking care of your finances?  Just like the battery of tests, having an equal amount of time on each is not appropriate.  You need to invest more time in some areas than others.

Emergencies in one life area create imbalance.  If that is your experience right now, acknowledge it and set a target to gently get back in balance.

Last, remember this is about endurance, not strength.  So set yourself up to have physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, and relational reserves.

Where do you need to invest more?  In what areas (or time-wasters) do you need to spend less?  Time to break out the journal and test your life balance.


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