The Benefits of Applying Mindfulness to Exercise
Occasionally we all simply need to zone-out and let our bodies do what they want to do. But, if you are becoming easily distracted during your workouts, it may be time to add some mindfulness into your workout routine.
In a recent scientific study, published by Scientific American, on the associations of what is known as Dispositional Mindfulness with cardiovascular health, it was concluded that “dispositional mindfulness is positively associated with cardiovascular health and physical activity.”
Another scientific trial examined the relationship between exercise consistency and mindfulness. According to the authors, “those who were successful at maintaining exercise tended to score higher on measures of mindfulness and acceptance”.
And another study of 62 women over six months found that those who applied mindfulness meditation practices to their daily or weekly routine had a much higher level of physical exercise and general movement, and a greater reduction in BMI, than those who didn’t employ mindfulness practices.
Researchers found that students reported being less stressed while they were on their feet and moving—but they kicked that feeling into high gear when they reported also being more mindful. We know that being more active reduces stress and anxiety, but being more mindful amplifies this effect.
Tips to Exercise More Mindfully
Ok, now that we know the benefits and the science behind this idea of bringing mindfulness to our workouts, how do we do it?
Find your focus
Be aware of your posture
Breathe deeply and rhythmically
Remind yourself why you are working out
See your surroundings
Hear your surroundings
Appreciate your abilities
Practice focus and practice again
If you find that you continue to lose focus, don’t worry about it, you can always revisit it again later. Being mindful isn’t about being perfect, it is simply a practice that helps us better cope with the difficult thoughts and feelings that can cause us stress or anxiety during our workouts. So don’t let it add to that stress.
If you practice mindfulness during your workout (or at any other time during the day) you will find that instead of being on autopilot and led by your emotions, you can harness the ability to anchor your mind in the present moment and the present activity. And, as the scientific studies have shown us, that can help us deal with life’s challenges in a calm, centered, and assertive way while also helping to improve our athletic performance and fitness.
By Brock Armstrong, 2018.