Mindfulness and Exercise: Using Mindfulness to Improve Your Fitness

Happy #FitnessFriday everyone! Today, we’re focusing on mindful exercise, which is all about performing physical activity while focusing inward. The idea is to let go of distractions and unrelated thoughts, and focus your attention on your sensations, your breath and the movements of your body. The basic idea here is that when you give your full attention to your workout, you’ll do it more effectively.

Being mindful during your workout can:

  • Increase the effectiveness of your workout
  • Decrease your chances of injury
  • Enhance your enjoyment of exercising
  • Support you in developing a healthy and loving relationship with your body

With mindful exercise, you’re going for quality, not quantity. Try turning off the TV or music and bringing your focused attention to your breath and your movements while you are jogging, biking or lifting weights. You’re also looking for a balance between discipline and listening to your body. Be willing to adjust your workouts to suit your body’s needs. And by listening to your body, you’re also demonstrating self-care, which is vitally important to looking, living and feeling #BetterEveryDay.

Here are 5 mindfulness tips to improve your fitness routine:

  1. While lifting weights, put your full attention on the muscle you are strengthening. Really feel your muscles contract and relax with each repetition. Allow your breath to be slow and steady. As unrelated thoughts arise, let them go and return your attention to your body and your breathing.
  2. While running, turn off your music and bring your attention to the sound of your sneakers, the rhythm of your breath and the movement of your arms. Notice how you feel during and after your run when practicing mindfulness in this way.
  3. Before a workout, really tune in to your body and notice what level of exertion you’re ready for. If you’re particularly tired, try skipping your run and doing some gentle stretching and mindful walking instead.
  4. While stretching, bring your attention right to the area you’re stretching. Close your eyes and take ten slow breaths, as if you are breathing directly into the muscles you’re stretching. Notice how your focus and breath support your body to open up and expand more easily.
  5. During spin class, or when riding your bike, focus your mind on the movements of your leg muscles. Feel your muscles working in unison to peddle the bike. Smile and take a moment to appreciate the miraculous coordination of your body that enables it to perform such a task!

Practicing mindfulness while exercising is good for your body and your mind. The repetitive nature of most exercises provides a perfect training ground for the art of mindfulness. Practice these 5 tips and see how the benefits extend beyond the gym to every area of your life!

How do you practice mindfulness in your workouts? We’d love your #FitnessFriday feedback in the comment section below.

 

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