Mindfulness- A word that is gaining prominence in the world of fitness and well-being is adapted from a Buddhist practice to suit non-religious contexts. Mindfulness is a pretty straightforward word with a complex, in-depth meaning. When you scour Google for the definition of mindfulness, you will come up with various versions.
Essentially, mindfulness can be defined as the basic human ability to be fully present at the moment. We will be aware of what we are doing without being overly reactive or judgemental about what's going on around us.
Did you know that mindfulness is an innate quality that we all possess? It is not a new habit that you inculcate. You have to know how to access it and implement it in your daily life. Mindfulness can be cultivated through proven techniques and by merging it with other practices like sports and group fitness classes.
Mindfulness & Exercise: A Powerful Combination
The sense of satisfaction from a job well done can be lost when you are not focused on what you are doing. The same goes for fitness workouts. It's important to think about how we move to get the most from our bodies.
Being mindful when you work out can significantly improve your exercise output and results. Think about it. How good is your form and posture when your mind is busy thinking about the day's work? Mindfulness can change all that. The ability and endurance that you gain from exercising will increase if you practice routines that maintain presence and grace in every moment.
However, finding flow can be difficult when everything around you is distracting. It requires some effort to focus on what's happening now rather than dwelling in the past or future. Let's explore how to strengthen your mind-body connection through mindfulness and take your workouts to a whole new level.
8 Ways To Harness Mindfulness In Your Workouts
1. Find Your Focus
Distractions at the gym are numerous. Be it making small talk, attending phone calls, or the feeling of inadequacy- everything pulls you away from your main objective. When your focus goes out the window, so does your resolve to complete your workout.
Whenever you feel like you are losing focus, remember this: The change in our lives begins with a change in our minds. Treat your distractions as mere sceneries. Do not invest more into it than you should. Forget what's happening and get on with your workout.
Tip to remember: Where the mind goes, the body follows!
2. Perfect Your Posture
Mastering the correct posture during a workout takes time but has immense benefits. A good posture should have:
- An upright body
- Relaxed shoulders
- Neck straight and long
- Arms moving fluidly forward and backwards
- Hips strong, centred, and stable
- Feet firmly planted on the ground
When you learn to assume this posture effortlessly, you can enjoy and focus on your movements without physical stress or pain.
3. Remember to Breathe
Breathing is the most natural thing to do, and that's why you don't pay much attention. However, breathing is an important aspect of your movement- whether running, pulling weights, doing yoga, or meditating. Paying attention to your breathing is an effective way of clearing and calming your mind. It also helps you refocus and recentre your mind to the present moment. Use the breath as an attention anchor to stay focussed.
4. Remember your Goals
When you find yourself giving in to distractions, being careless with your posture, or rushing through your workout, stop for a moment. Give yourself a minute to think of all the things you could (or should) rather be doing. Reflect on why you are working out and how it will help you. Think about how:
- The workout will energise you for the day
- You will feel great about yourself when you finish it.
- You deserve to take care of yourself.
- Your workout will help you sleep better.
5. Workout with a Purpose
The main purpose of your fitness regime could be anything and not just weight loss. You can work out to regain your stamina, feel fit and healthy, fit into your old clothes, or just destress yourself.
However, what you need is a purpose to hold on to for the moment. It will realign your focus and give you something to look forward to every time you commence your workout. Here are some great examples of workout purposes:
- Finishing your planned workout for the day.
- Strengthening specific muscles (your core, leg, arms, or back muscles)
- Burning a certain number of calories
- Working out for a specific period of time
- Challenging yourself to do better than yesterday
6. Appreciate your Abilities
Don't wait for others to appreciate your efforts. Be the first one to appreciate yourself! Pat yourself on the back every time you successfully start and finish your workout. Reward yourself even if you shed a kilo or two. Appreciate how far you've come, even when you can do an extra push up. Remember not to take yourself for granted. You are special!
7. Focus, Practice, Repeat
Mastering mindfulness can be a slow process. It takes a lot of time, practice, and patience to harness mindfulness with your daily workout. What works for your friend or colleague may not work for you. Dabble with a few approaches until you find a method that aligns with your thought process.
If you practice mindfulness throughout the day, you can attain the ability to focus on the present moment, no matter what you are doing.
8. End with a Bang
Start strong AND finish strong. Wind down with some stretches and a leisurely cool-down session. Take a moment to lie down and mentally feel your muscles gaining the effect of your efforts. This will leave you satisfied and motivated to work out the next day.
Amazing Advantages Of Mindful Exercising
Zoning out during workouts gives you that magical moment of feeling your own strength and power as you exercise. Mindful exercising rewards you with:
- Better mental health
- Better sleep patterns
- Lesser anxiety and stress
- Improved stamina and fitness
- Stronger commitment to exercise
- Higher levels of satisfaction
- Increased self-confidence and self-esteem
It's not easy to develop mindfulness right away; it goes against many of our instincts and must be practised to become effective. Consistent psychological and motivational techniques can help you harness mindfulness with your fitness regime.
At GETFit 360, Chennai, we implement proven techniques to transform your mind and body to adapt to healthier lifestyle practices with long-term benefits. Get in touch with us to enrol yourself in our next batch!