How mindfulness can impact your workout

How often, when you’re in the throes of a good workout that burns and leaves you sweating so much it looks like you just jumped into the swimming pool, do you think about “just getting through it”?

50 more crunches, two more circuits, that imaginary clock you keep seeing in your mind that’s ticking closer to the end so you don’t have to be pushed any further past your limit…

But, how often do you really check in with yourself? How’s your breath? Are you practicing gratitude for simply showing up? How is your body feeling in every movement change and different technique?

What is mindful movement?

Mindful movement is about paying attention to the moment you are in and this applies to so much more than your regular morning boot camp routine or afternoon dance class. This is about you connecting and being aware of the present, not wishing for the future or the past.

Any activity that gets your body moving can, and should, be attached to mindful movement. Yoga does not necessarily equate to being more mindful. Rather, it is the intention that you put behind your practice as you connect and flow that does.

If you’re out for a run, try taking off your headphones and listen to the sounds around you. If you’re in a class, take note of the people around you who are also choosing to show up in that moment and share part of their day with you. Above all, be grateful for the moment you are in and the movements and sensations your body is expressing, not anyone else’s.

Notice your heart rate fluctuate, your body warming up or perspiring, and your muscles working.

Smile. Laughter really helps you push on through.

Noticing the present moment

We are not encouraging you to become sidetracked and wander too far, just enough to take in your present moment. When you do notice your mind wander, allow for a moment to recognize whatever has taken your attention and return to center: your breath and movement.

Mindful movement is an important part in getting the most out of your workout, today and for the future. Practicing it in one area of your life authentically will allow for more opportunity to bring it into other areas— your work, relationships and day-to-day living.

Applying some extra mindfulness into your daily routines may bring on some surprising results. Research has shown the following:

— A newfound sensitivity to movement that can reduce your chance of injury, increase strength and flexibility and provide better balance and coordination.

— Improved reaction times, better lung function, heightened cardiovascular conditioning.

— Weight loss.

— Slowing down and this has a tremendous effect on our lives.

So, next time you’re in class, walking your dog, or moving through your day however that looks, slow down, take a deep breath and be grateful to you and your body are doing this together.