Mindfulness – how to stay mindful during a workout

What is mindfulness?

Humans; we love to think – its part of us – its our kind of thing. It’s an incredibly simple, yet challenging mental technique adapted from a Buddhist practice to now suit non-religious contexts.

Some people may think its about clearing your head and thinking about “nothing”. But in theory it’s actually more than that, its stepping back and hearing your thoughts without judgment with a relaxed but a focused mind.

To sum it all up its basically being aware of what you are doing, when you are doing it, and becoming a master of your mind, rather than being controlled but your subconscious.

Even as you were skimming through this article, how many other things were running through your head?

• Thinking what to cook for dinner?
• Weekend plans ?
• Checked your emails?
• Have to submit a draft before deadline ?
• Worrying about the future?

The world and our lives get busier and more “urgent” thanks to the internet and our phones, and as a result so do our phones. Our thoughts and feelings are constantly moving from one thing to the next without a break.

So what are the benefits of staying in the moment during a workout?

• Increase the effectiveness of your workout
• Decrease chances of injury
• Enhance enjoyment in exercising
• A stronger connection to your body
• Decreased depression and anxiety
• Increased satisfaction from a workout

Some mindful techniques you can apply to your workout:

• If you’re a runner, turn off your iPod for a couple of minutes and switch your attention to the sound of your sneakers, the rhythm of your breath and the movement of your arm swing. Notice how you feel before and after your run

• While stretching bring your attention to the area you are stretching, take deeper breaths, close your eyes. This can impact how you open up your body and fall into the stretch easier.

• Remind yourself to breathe, it’s the simplest way to deal with stress, and bring yourself into the current moment.

• Switch off your phone, or leave it in a locker, that way you wont be distracted by the emails, phone calls and messages you need to respond to.