Mindfulness may be a buzzword used by the ultra-calm, but it’s slowly creeped into the mainstream over the last year or two. This can have multiple benefits on our frame of mind and everyday routines – including exercise.
Think about all the times you’ve clock-watched your way through a workout, or make a hefty to-do list in your head. It may feel like effective multi-tasking but your training session could be suffering. While you’re finalising your weekend plans in between burpee’s you’ll find you’re actually too distracted to push yourself, or pay attention to your technique, resulting in a less effective workout, and risk of injury.
It’s easy for the mind to drift in and out of thoughts whilst you’re working out. But if you’re aware of when it’s happening, and re-train your brain to bring its focus back into the moment, you’re already a step closer to a more effective workout.
Here’s how you can be more mindful in your workouts.
1. Have a Purpose
Instead of mindlessly getting through the same routine in no particular set time, start to make more of a plan before you get to the gym. Have a clear indication of what you’re heading to the gym for – is it to improve your 5k time? Or lift an extra 2 kilograms? Whatever it is, challenge yourself and think, “I’m going to work my lower/upper body really hard in my interval sessions today”.
2. Remember why you’re There
If you find yourself thinking about everything you need to do instead of working out, remind yourself that you deserve to take care of yourself, and it’s going to make you feel better afterwards.
3. Take it Slow
You’ve set aside this time to work out so make the most of it. Don’t rush through it to say you’ve done it, take the time to appreciate every moment and work the hardest you possibly can whilst you’re there.
4. Remember to Breathe
It sounds simple, but if you find your mind wandering, take a minute to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths – it’s the quickest way to alleviate stress and set your mind back on the task at hand.
5. Cool Down
Once you’ve finished, don’t run out the door. Instead, take 10 minutes to stretch, do some belly breathing and, if you have time, do a five minute meditation. Just sit quietly, breath in for seven counts and out for eleven, and appreciate the hard work your body’s just done.
With all this in mind, hopefully a mindfulness approach to your next gym session will help improve everything you’re working toward.