2615 Park Central Blvd, Decatur, Georgia 30035

Practicing Mindful Fitness

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Practicing Mindful Fitness

Practicing Mindful Fitness

My mind is racing today. So much goes into running a business and having a life. Although I was not on the stage Friday,  I still have to be in the gym for all fitness sessions most days, giving out B12 shots, IV therapies, counseling clients, then running errands for myself, getting pelleted, spending time at the hospital with my best friend Stephanie as she received her chemo drip, ordering supplies, and the many other things I must accomplish in a day. Sometimes it’s hard for me to slow down. But the health benefits of slowing down and being more mindful are abundant.


Finding flow in a world full of distractions takes some work. It involves staying in the present (without judgment), so you concentrate on what is happening here and now versus focusing on the past or future. Most of us associate mindfulness with meditation, but one can also practice mindful fitness.


A small study found that when mindfulness was combined with exercise, participants showed improvements in stress, depression, and anxiety. In addition, this study found that mindful exercise can help improve sleep, which can also benefit mental health. Studies have also linked mindfulness with feeling more positive about your physical health, which can lead to more positive health behaviors.


Have a Purpose for Each Workout 


Too often we exercise with a weight loss mentality, but there are other purposes to exercise that have nothing to do with weight loss. Having a purpose will give you something to focus on, something to work for and something you can feel good about. Some examples:

  • To strengthen specific muscles (e.g., "I'm going to focus on working all the muscles in my lower body")
  • To challenge yourself (e.g., "I'm going to focus on giving my 100% in my 1 hour with Tadda”)
  • To work on a specific area of fitness (e.g., "Today I'm doing cardio to build endurance")


An alternative to having a purpose for each workout is to set an intention. This could be a mental goal or pledge.


Pay Attention to Your Body

One way to stay present is to pay continuous attention to your body while exercising. Notice the repetitive strike of your foot on the pavement during your run, walk jog on runday Monday, for instance. When strength training, consciously focus on how each muscle feels as you use it, which is why I ask you to look at your muscles in the mirror.


This is not about comparing your body to the camper next to you. Instead, it is intended to get you to focus on what you are experiencing during physical activity. So, tune out what everyone else is doing and give your body your sole attention.


Remember Why You're Exercising 

If you find yourself rushing through exercise, thinking of all the things you should be doing instead, remember why it’s important to do your workout. Reflect on why you have made exercise a priority and how will this workout help you right now:

  • This workout will help me have more energy for my day.
  • I'll feel really good about myself when I finish my workout.
  • I'll sleep better tonight after this workout.
  • I deserve to take care of myself, and exercise is part of that.
  • I'll feel much less stressed if I exercise.


Slow Down 

Remember, you set this time aside specifically for your workout, so give yourself permission to actually do it. Take your time with each activity and each movement. Focus on your form, on the upward motion, and the downward motion. Think about your posture, your core, and the rest of your body, including the muscles being targeted. Focus on feeling each muscle contract and relax. See just how much you can get out of your exercise time.


Remind Yourself to Breathe 

Breathing is the simplest way to deal with stress and bring you to​ the current moment. Focus on the breath. You're exercising right now and that's all you have to do. You'll deal with anything else later. If your mind wanders during your workout or you keep watching the clock, close your eyes and take a breath to bring yourself back to the moment. Use the breath as an "attention anchor" to help you refocus.


End on a Good Note 

Remember all the good things about the workout and how good it feels when you're done. Give yourself time during the cool down to slow down and focus on the stretch. Be Mindfully Fit for your Physical and Mental Health No Mess!

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