How Mindfulness can Help Improve Your Fitness Regime
Over the last 12 months or so, Mindfulness has been widely talked about. Specifically the benefits of it. How it can help reduce stress, fight fatigue, boost confidence, live a healthier, more aware, lifestyle and much more.
So it’s only natural that mindfulness can also help improve your fitness regime.
And yet, why is it that many of us approach exercise with a sense of foreboding? A means to an end. The reason we indulge at the weekend?
Next time you’re at the gym, take a look around you. How many people are listening to music or watching TV? I’m betting the majority are.
We’re all trying to find something else to focus on, rather than the exercise itself.
But what if practising mindfulness could …
- Improve your overall fitness?
- Help you enjoy exercising?
- Help you achieve those elusive results?
Here are our three tips for practising mindfulness when working out to help you more easily achieve your fitness goals:
1. Switch off and pay attention
Try working out at least once a week without listening to music or watching TV.
Instead concentrate on the movement.
If you’re running, listen to the sound of your breathing and each foot falling. Feel how your foot hits the pavement or treadmill. Pump your arms and focus on them moving forward and back.
If you’re lifting weights, feel each muscle being used. Be conscious of the tightening of your core muscles working in collaboration with the more targeted muscles of your arms or legs.
If necessary slow the pace down. You’re better off working out correctly with every move, than doing double the quantity but of a lesser quality.
Is there a part of your body that starts to fade first? At what point does tiredness kick in?
By switching off from gadgets and paying attention to each movement, you’ll soon start to discover what parts of your body are stronger, and what needs more work to get the most out of every workout and improve your overall fitness.
2. Start each workout with an aim
Whether it be to lose weight, build muscle, improve stamina, or something else, before starting each session think about it. Visualise it. Focus on it.
For example, for losing weight – when in the middle of a HIIT session, spinning class or run, focus on actually losing that weight. Imagine the fat dissolving and the weight dropping off with every minute that passes.
If you want to build muscle, imagine each muscle tightening and toning when holding the plank, doing each squat, or with every push-up.
You’ll soon forget about the people around you, how sweaty you look or what the latest bit of office gossip is. Instead you’re focused with a clear sense of purpose of what you’re aiming for.
3. Focus on your breathing
Breathing while exercising is not only vital, it helps improve your workout.
Your muscles need oxygen to work properly. By improper breathing when working out, you’re essentially starving your muscles of the supply it desperately needs to ensure you make it to the end!
Make sure that whatever exercise you’re doing you can regulate your breathing. Yes, there may be times when you’re feeling a little out of breathe – when cycling or running uphill for example – and that’s okay, as long as it’s not for prolonged periods of time.
By focusing on your breathing, you’re clearing your mind of everything else and helping your body sustain the workout.
Try practising mindfulness during your next workout, the results should be improved performance, improved technique and most importantly, improved enjoyment.