How To

How to bring mindfulness into your workout routine

How to bring mindfulness into your workout routine | ActionHub

The shorter and darker days of winter can make keeping up with your regular exercise routine more difficult, and many of us are struggling to get up and get moving. However, a new study gives us some encouragement, as it suggests that if we pay more attention to the experience of exercising, all of us can find pleasure in moving.

The study, published in the Journal of Health Psychology, embarked on finding what makes exercise fun and pleasurable for some, and a chore for others, wondering about the role of mindfulness on our exercise routines.

Most of us associate mindfulness with yoga, spirituality, and meditation, and there are tons of different definitions of what mindfulness means in today’s pop culture. When it comes to the study, the researchers defined the word as a deliberate “awareness of what is happening in the present moment.”

Researchers concluded that mindfulness played an essential role in making participants feel satisfied with exercising. Participants that reported being mindful while working out also reported satisfaction.

Benefits of mindfulness

There are some benefits to sometimes zoning out during a workout. Putting on your headphones, blasting your favorite tunes and moving your body by running or walking doesn’t require much thinking, and can be a time for meditation, letting your mind run free while your body gets a workout.

However, losing the connection between your mind and your body when you’re distracted can make you miss the magical moment of feeling your body’s power and strength. When you pay attention to what you’re doing at the current moment, there is a flow that happens, and you can easily miss it if you’re not paying attention.

Bringing mindfulness into your workout routine also gives you:

A stronger connection between mind and body: By focusing on each exercise and the muscles you’re working, and what you are accomplishing, you get more from your workout.

Improved results: When you’re focused on what you’re doing, the quality of your movements is improved, and so is the overall quality of your workout.

Increased satisfaction: If you know precisely the muscles you’re working, how each movement feels and what you’re getting out of each action, you end your workout with the knowledge that you did your best.

 

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Mindfulness helps you get a better workout

Mindfulness is like any other muscle, to strengthen it you need to practice, and train it. Some of the best ways to incorporate mindfulness into your workout are:

Set a purpose

A lot of the times, we exercise just to lose weight, but it’s not something that happens during one workout. It’s helpful to set a purpose for your workout, something that you can hold on to right now.

Setting an intention gives you something to work out for, something to focus on, and something you can feel proud of. Some workout purposes can be:

  • Finish your workout routine
  • Strengthen a specific muscle or set of muscles (e.g., triceps, biceps, core)
  • Challenge yourself
  • Burn a certain number of calories

Remember the reason you’re exercising

If you find that you’re rushing through your workouts and your mind is on all the other things you could be doing, remember the importance of working out. Think about why you made exercising a priority, and the benefits you’ll receive from this workout.

Some examples of reasons can be:

  • You will have more energy throughout the day
  • You’ll feel great about yourself
  • Your sleep will be better
  • You deserve to take care of yourself
  • You will reduce your stress level

The shorter and darker days of winter can make keeping up with your regular exercise routine more difficult, and many of us are struggling to get up and get moving. However, a new study gives us some encouragement, as it suggests that if we pay more attention to the experience of exercising, all of us can find pleasure in moving.

The study, published in the Journal of Health Psychology, embarked on finding what makes exercise fun and pleasurable for some, and a chore for others, wondering about the role of mindfulness on our exercise routines.

Most of us associate mindfulness with yoga, spirituality, and meditation, and there are tons of different definitions of what mindfulness means in today’s pop culture. When it comes to the study, the researchers defined the word as a deliberate “awareness of what is happening in the present moment.”

Researchers concluded that mindfulness played an essential role in making participants feel satisfied with exercising. Participants that reported being mindful while working out also reported satisfaction.

Benefits of Mindfulness

There are some benefits to sometimes zoning out during a workout. Putting on your headphones, blasting your favorite tunes and moving your body by running or walking doesn’t require much thinking, and can be a time for meditation, letting your mind run free while your body gets a workout.

However, losing the connection between your mind and your body when you’re distracted can make you miss the magical moment of feeling your body’s power and strength. When you pay attention to what you’re doing at the current moment, there is a flow that happens, and you can easily miss it if you’re not paying attention.

Bringing mindfulness into your workout routine also gives  you:

A stronger connection between mind and body: By focusing on each exercise and the muscles you’re working, and what you are accomplishing, you get more from your workout.

Improved results: When you’re focused on what you’re doing, the quality of your movements is improved, and so is the overall quality of your workout.

Increased satisfaction: If you know precisely the muscles you’re working, how each movement feels and what you’re getting out of each action, you end your workout with the knowledge that you did your best.

 

Mindfulness helps you get a better workout

Mindfulness is like any other muscle, to strengthen it you need to practice, and train it. Some of the best ways to incorporate mindfulness into your workout are:

  1. Set a purpose

A lot of the times, we exercise just to lose weight, but it’s not something that happens during one workout. It’s helpful to set a purpose for your workout, something that you can hold on to right now.

Setting an intention gives you something to work out for, something to focus on, and something you can feel proud of. Some workout purposes can be:

  • Finish your workout routine
  • Strengthen a specific muscle or set of muscles (e.g., triceps, biceps, core)
  • Challenge yourself
  • Burn a certain number of calories
  1. Remember the reason you’re exercising

If you find that you’re rushing through your workouts and your mind is on all the other things you could be doing, remember the importance of working out. Think about why you made exercising a priority, and the benefits you’ll receive from this workout.

Some examples of reasons can be:

  • You will have more energy throughout the day
  • You’ll feel great about yourself
  • Your sleep will be better
  • You deserve to take care of yourself
  • You will reduce your stress level

  1. Rid yourself of distractions

Give yourself the headspace to be genuinely present in your workout, thinking about it as a break in your usual routine. Don’t multitask, turn off your phone and dedicate yourself to your workout. It’s impossible to be mindful if you’re multitasking (such as texting or reading) and you won’t receive all the benefits from your exercise.

  1. Remember to breathe

One of our most potent tools for fitness as well as mindfulness is our breath. One of the simplest ways to bring yourself to the current moment is to breathe. If your mind is wandering when you’re working out, or you are always staring at the clock, close your eyes momentarily and take a deep breath. Focus on what you’re doing right now, which is exercising and taking care of your body.

  1. Pay attention to your body

Pay attention to your body and what’s going on with it. Before starting your workout, take note of how your body feels today, without comparing it to how it was yesterday or a few weeks ago. Once you start working out, pay attention to your movements and how they feel.

If it seems a bit overwhelming, then start with just one part of your body, for example, the way your feet feel when they hit the ground if you’re running, or the way your knees feel when you’re cycling.

  1. Be attentive to your surroundings

A big part of mindfulness is experiencing and being aware of everything that is going on around you right at that very moment. Once you’re experienced in paying attention to your body, open up your level of awareness to what’s going on around you. Be aware of your senses and the sounds, sights and smells around you, such as the gust of wind, the smell of grass or the energy of those surrounding you.

 

  1. Connect to your discomfort and pain

The chances are that at some point during your workout, you’ll feel some pain or discomfort, especially if you’re staying present and being mindful. A natural part of getting stronger is discomfort, which means you’re leaving your comfort zone. Don’t run away from any discomfort, instead try leaning into it, keeping in mind that you’re getting stronger because of it.

Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong, so listen to it. Your body will tell you whether you’re pushing yourself too hard, or if you need to stop and change what you’re doing. Push yourself hard enough to grow and get stronger, but not hard enough that you hurt yourself.

  1. Stay in the zone

Staying in the zone means being completely present in the moment while letting go of your thought process. Synchronize your mind and your body and be openly aware of your body and your surroundings. This doesn’t mean zoning out and not being in the moment, which can lead to a serious injury if you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing or feeling.

  1. End on a high note

When ending your workout, remember how good you feel when you’re done. Take some time to cool down and stretch your muscles. Stretch slowly and with intent, rewarding yourself with some relaxation.

Remember that it takes practice to bring mindfulness into your workout routine. Train in mindfulness just as you would for a marathon, letting go of intrusive thoughts and coming back to the present moment. Mindfulness offers a fantastic opportunity to improve your workout and grow as a person.

Give yourself the headspace to be genuinely present in your workout, thinking about it as a break in your usual routine. Don’t multitask, turn off your phone and dedicate yourself to your workout. It’s impossible to be mindful if you’re multitasking (such as texting or reading) and you won’t receive all the benefits from your exercise.

Remember to breathe

One of our most potent tools for fitness as well as mindfulness is our breath. One of the simplest ways to bring yourself to the current moment is to breathe. If your mind is wandering when you’re working out, or you are always staring at the clock, close your eyes momentarily and take a deep breath. Focus on what you’re doing right now, which is exercising and taking care of your body.

Pay attention to your body

Pay attention to your body and what’s going on with it. Before starting your workout, take note of how your body feels today, without comparing it to how it was yesterday or a few weeks ago. Once you start working out, pay attention to your movements and how they feel.

If it seems a bit overwhelming, then start with just one part of your body, for example, the way your feet feel when they hit the ground if you’re running, or the way your knees feel when you’re cycling.

Be attentive to your surroundings

A big part of mindfulness is experiencing and being aware of everything that is going on around you right at that very moment. Once you’re experienced in paying attention to your body, open up your level of awareness to what’s going on around you. Be aware of your senses and the sounds, sights and smells around you, such as the gust of wind, the smell of grass or the energy of those surrounding you.


Connect to your discomfort and pain

The chances are that at some point during your workout, you’ll feel some pain or discomfort, especially if you’re staying present and being mindful. A natural part of getting stronger is discomfort, which means you’re leaving your comfort zone. Don’t run away from any discomfort, instead try leaning into it, keeping in mind that you’re getting stronger because of it.

Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong, so listen to it. Your body will tell you whether you’re pushing yourself too hard, or if you need to stop and change what you’re doing. Push yourself hard enough to grow and get stronger, but not hard enough that you hurt yourself.

Stay in the zone

Staying in the zone means being completely present in the moment while letting go of your thought process. Synchronize your mind and your body and be openly aware of your body and your surroundings. This doesn’t mean zoning out and not being in the moment, which can lead to a serious injury if you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing or feeling.

End on a high note

When ending your workout, remember how good you feel when you’re done. Take some time to cool down and stretch your muscles. Stretch slowly and with intent, rewarding yourself with some relaxation.

Remember that it takes practice to bring mindfulness into your workout routine. Train in mindfulness just as you would for a marathon, letting go of intrusive thoughts and coming back to the present moment. Mindfulness offers a fantastic opportunity to improve your workout and grow as a person.

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of ActionHub. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.

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