The last part of this mini mindfulness series I’d like to touch on is living a mindful life through exercise. It is possible to be mindful when it comes to any form of exercise. Whether it’s walking or deadlifting – we can bring this practice into play.
Just as a reminder – here is the definition of mindfulness.
Mindfulness: the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
FREE Mindfulness Guide
Being mindful while we exercise not only has great benefits for us mentally, but physically as well. Incorporating a mindful practice into your exercise routine will allow you to focus more on each individual exercise – thus preventing injury and increasing the effectiveness of your workout.
Listen To Your Body
With mindful exercise it is important to listen to your body. Of course discipline is important in any form of healthy living, but so is listening to your body. This will help when it comes to preventing injuries.
Pay attention to what your body is telling you. If it’s saying “One more rep!” then give it one more rep, but if it’s telling you to take the day off because your joints are hurting a little more than usual – take the day off. By listening to what your body is telling you you’re not taking the easy way out by any means – you’re just allowing yourself to be fully in-tune/aware of your needs.
Bringing mindfulness into your weight lifting is a great way to really hone down on each muscle group. If you’re doing hammer curls focus all of your attention on your form and your biceps. Be mindful of how you allow this muscle group to contract and relax with each curl.
Allow for your breath to be slow and steady, focused. When thoughts pop into your head that are unrelated to your workout – push them aside and really focus on your muscles and breathing. Let those babies grow!
When running shut your music off and/or leave your headphones at home. Focus on the sound of your sneakers hitting the pavement – the way your arms swing with each stride – the rhythm of each breath you take. Focus on being mindful in this way and notice how you feel after your run.
Yoga is a great practice to incorporate mindfulness into your workouts. While going through your rotations really focus on your breath. Focus on how you inhale and exhale with each pose/movement. Elongate and breathe.
This one is a biggie when it comes to any workout. You should always allow yourself time to stretch after a workout. While stretching bring your attention to the muscle group you are stretching out.
Give yourself 10 deep breaths in each stretch. On the exhale really dig deep into the stretch and lengthen the muscles out.
Allow yourself 2-3 minutes before or after your stretching to meditate. Use this time to bring your heart rate back down and to become fully centered again. Focus on your breath – breathe in for four counts and exhale for four counts. If your mind begins to wander focus even harder on your breathing. Allow yourself to be with you and only you.
When it comes to exercise simply just remember to focus on your breath and the muscle groups that you’re working on. Take the time to stretch after each workout and give yourself at least 2-3 minutes to meditate. Focus on your body and strive to become the healthiest, most mindful version of you.
FREE Mindfulness Guide