Mindfulness and Exercise

The much buzzed word in the world of psychology is mindfulness.

But I am a firm believer of: unless and until you practice mindfulness, you can never teach anyone the same. So, as a psychologist how can I apply mindfulness. Hmm..

Currently, I have started working out at home, leaving the comforts of a gym, I have adapted to an environment like home or nature (oh, the drama in expressing this!) Apparently, it is difficult. No trainers, no people to motivate you- just your voice and also my Nike Training App.

Why does being mindful while working out help? Mindful workout helps you to

  1. Focus on what you are doing, and not how much: Many people focus on ‘ Oh you have not increased your weights while doing squats’ ‘Same amount of repetitions since last week!! How will it work?!’ Those thoughts linger on your mind and you end up doing more than what your body can. Mindfulness means, focus on what you are doing, enjoy the repetitions and of course aim for more the next time. But, for now- just do it!
  2. Understand and absorb the environment: When we go running, we pay a lot of attention on the music from our iPods or even the kms/miles that are clocked on the app, so that you can upload it on your networking site. This does make it tiring and monotonous. What we fail to absorb is the environment, the nature around the concrete road or the beautiful forest trail that you’re running on. Being mindful means running or working out in the environment that is helping you to do so. So be it working out in your bedroom on the yoga mat or running on the busy road, try to smell, see and feel every sense.
  3. Feel your body and away from injuries: Along with the environment, you should also be mindful of your body. Where the pain is, where the stretch is, the difference between a sore muscle and a muscle pain which can lead to injury.
  4. Be aware of your posture: Being mindful about your body includes understanding how good your posture is. After years of training at the gym sometimes even I feel I do not squat properly. But reminding myself to see if my knees go beyond my toes while squatting is the only way I can self-learn. Plus, a big mirror helps. Another thing what helps is a door frame- to hold and also to see whether you are going beyond the frame/ leg or not!
  5. Breathe: The last and the most important aspect of any form of exercise and also mental stability is breathing. You should know when to inhale and when to exhale, and it is not rocket science to know it. But, you should also know when to stop and take a mindful minute- by focusing on your breathing. While doing body weight circuits, I always take a minute doing abdominal breathing in between two circuits.

Oh and do not forget to stretch after a workout 🙂 introduction-to-mindfulnessPicture Courtesy: http://fieldviewfestival.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/introduction-to-mindfulness.jpg

 

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