Why is Mindfulness Important for Your Workout?
A workout for the sole purpose of physical exercise often has limited health benefits. It can help you stay fit to some level and boost your serotonin levels to some degree. But, when you add mindfulness into your workout, it becomes the secret ingredient to overall well-being, including physical and mental health. Often, people only accredit this benefit to yoga or exercises involving mudras, however, a mindful workout is not limited to a few types of workouts.
Before we move on to the positive effect of mindfulness on your workout, let’s explain what a mindful workout is.
What is a Mindful Workout?
A mindful workout is part of the holistic approach to physical activities and movement. It helps you understand what is happening in your body and how to utilize the knowledge to improve your physical and mental strength.
A mindful workout is most commonly in nature, it helps you use all senses, by leaving your headphones at home. You become aware of every breath and the sensations in your body while doing different movements.
Mindfulness during a workout also includes being present in the moment and aware of your thoughts, potential discomfort, and the sensations in your feet while they touch the ground. It helps you truly experience every second of your workout and get the most out of it.
Let’s take mindful running, for example, to describe the benefits of mindful workouts.
How Does Mindfulness Affect Your Workout?
By being in tune with your mind and body, mindfulness reduces external distractions. Therefore, you are more relaxed, without thinking about your speed, distance, personal records, etc.
By maintaining internal focus, you are ready to overcome your limitations. But, because you are focused on the sensations in your body, the injuries are less likely to happen. You’ll notice the signs of discomfort and expand your limitations.
How to Run Mindfully
The first thing to remember when practicing mindful workouts is to breathe through your nose. Mouth breathing is part of the stress-induced changes to your breathing, so nose breathing helps you relax and get into the right mood.
Mindfulness is all about the mind-body connection, so try to keep the inner conversation with your body. Let go of the social expectations and social distractions, timings, tracking devices, points, or anything similar, which can shift your focus from internal feelings to external activities and objects. Don’t measure time and think about the technique.
Before you start your workout, prepare for the mindful experience. Do a quick meditation to reduce stress before starting. Five or ten minutes of deep breathing and mindfulness exercises will be enough to get you in the right state of mind for your workout.
How to Start Mindful Running
Once you’ve done the prep work, it is time to engage your focus on your sensations and mind. Start slowly and listen to your body to adjust your pace. Check for the physical sensations as you speed up or slow down.
As your heart and breath rate speed up, feel the warming up in your body, the heart beating in your chest, experience every sensation in your muscles.
Maintain that state of mind and internal focus, but try not to think about the sensations, just feel them.
How to Control Your Thoughts
Once you maintain the awareness of bodily sensations, focus on your mind. Stop replaying situations and scenarios in your head, and use running (or any other workout) as a time to express gratitude for your physical health.
If you feel like your thoughts are getting out of control, focus on breathing. It will help you calm down in an instant and gain control over your mindful workout.
Don’t think about the finish line, feel every step and movement. Slowly, you’ll increase your abilities and enjoy your workouts more!
Have you ever tried mindful workouts? Did you like them?
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