Mindfulness & Exercise

Mindfulness is defined as “the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training.” according to Wikipedia. In performing a search of content out there about mindfulness in fitness, I was surprised that information on this topic is limited.

Mindfulness: “paying attention to the present moment, with intention, while letting go of judgment, as if your life depends on it” Dr. John Kabat-Zinn

Too often, I realize that I forget to apply the techniques of mindfulness and relaxation to my daily life.  I have taught others’ many strategies to feel more peaceful and cope with difficult illnesses like anxiety and depression.  And I still forget how useful these practices are for daily life.

One area I do always apply mindfulness is during exercise.  It is the reason I exercise, because I am focused, concentrating on one thing, getting in tune with my body and my brain.

Practicing mindfulness during exercise will greatly improvemindful_brain.jpg your results. 

YOU CAN:

  • Be Aware of what is happening with your body and muscles internally.
  • Be Aware of where your body is performing well and areas that are difficult.
  • Use the power of focused thinking to contract the muscles you want to strengthen.
  • Focus on contracting and strengthening your core muscles, think through that squeeze, make it count!
  • Positive motivating mantra – getting more in tune with your thoughts and body will help you use positive mantras to boost motivation and self-esteem!

Use the power of a deep breath.  I read a post about the benefits of deep breathing before squats on performance. Not heavy and long deep breaths.  But rather one to three deep breaths before a heavy squat, where on the exhale I am relaxing my body, muscles, especially my shoulders (which are usually tight), where I need to rest that barbell.  It has helped improved my focus and gets me a good start on a heavy set!

During my rests, I usually zone off with my music.  Work on letting thoughts come and go, not thinking about much at all.  Most days I stay off my phone, no intense facebooking, texting, emailing, etc.  IT’S ALL ZONE TIME!!! Personally, I like to focus, so this is another reason I don’t take a gym buddy.  Don’t get me wrong, this can be helpful for motivation and accountability.  For me, it’s too distracting. Essentially, weight lifting is a form of meditation for me.

While writing this post, I heard the song Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie on the radio – this defines my relationship with the gym!

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Practice relaxation techniques when you’re sore or anxious.

  • Use your deep breathing to then focus each exhale on relaxing a part of your body.
  • Start with your head and work your way to you toes.
  • Release soreness, pain, anxiety on each exhale.
  • Practice this in a quiet place if possible.

Use this practice for motivation.

If you’re feeling down, not sure why you’re even at the gym, Smile.

I don’t care that you don’t want to (fake it til you make it!) SMILE!

Take a nice inhale, then tell yourself a motivating statement on the exhale. It can be as simple as “I can do this!.

Sometimes this is even helpful for me on the ride to the gym. Some days it takes everything in me not to turn around and go back home. But I remind myself that I am strong and I am determined.  This will help me. And it does and it works.

Ever took time to eat in silence focusing solely on the taste of your food? Drive your car for a period of time with no music on? Take walk and fully appreciate the beauty of nature, thinking of nothing else? Just sit for minutes without thinking or attaching yourself to any thoughts?

♥ BE MINDFUL ♥

♥ BE HEALTHY ♥

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