So many of us go through our day not being present. Rushing from meetings, to appointments, to happy hour keep us from being really in the moment. Bringing that same sort of energy to our workout routines is all too common. Knowing we need to squeeze in our fitness between other priorities can make it feel rushed and less than fun. Even though you check it off your to-do list, being in the moment and mindful can make a world of difference – for your mentality and your body!
What is Mindfulness?
According to many online sources, mindfulness is the process of bringing your attention to whatever you are experiencing in the current moment (both internally and externally). It’s not always easy – especially in such a digitally connected world – to draw your attention to the here and now.
With friends messaging you, tweets being shared and Facebook constantly being updated, drawing your attention to one focal point – the present moment – takes some serious mental training.
While it may seem difficult – and nearly impossible – the benefits are outstanding:
• Increased sense of well-being
• Emotional balance
• Increased immune functioning
• Improves concentration
• Decreases judgment and anxiety
• Lowers stress-induced hormones
Mindfulness & Exercise
The benefits of both mindfulness and exercise are numerous – pairing them will make your life outstanding! By bringing mindfulness to your fitness routine, I can promise you’ll see better results, feel more satisfied after a sweat session and notice a stronger connection to your body.
You may also experience less injuries, a more consistent routine and quicker results!
4 Ways to Develop Your Mindfulness Muscle
The first step is to develop your mindfulness muscle. The best way to do this is through breathing, meditation and yoga. You can also start to train your senses in everyday moments. For example, if you are waiting in line at the grocery store, put away your phone and take in the sights, sounds and sensations around you. Check-in with all your senses to experience the present moment exactly as it, without judgment.
Once you start to practice mindfulness, you’ll notice it’s much easier the more you do it. Here are my favorite ways to bring mindfulness into my fitness routine:
1. Give Your Workout a Purpose
Losing weight is often the #1 purpose when it comes to working out, but I recommend you dig a little deeper and narrow it down. Instead of the overall WHY, consider what you want to accomplish in this ONE workout. For example, you may want to complete a new workout routine, try a new exercise, do a full set or burn a certain amount of calories. By focusing on the micro-purpose you’re better able to stay present throughout the entire workout.
2. Connect With The Bigger Why
If you find yourself disconnected (which often shows up as not wanting to workout or not finishing your workout for many reasons), try connecting with your bigger WHY. Maybe it’s greater vitality, a longer life, a healthy heart… whatever it is for you, make it personal and make it worth it! When you notice yourself rushed, anxious or feeling disheartened, bring this bigger why to the forefront of your thoughts. Creating a mantra or affirmation related to your bigger why is another great practice to incorporate into your workout routine.
3. Focus, Focus, Focus
I know all too well the feeling of routine in a fitness routine. When you do a workout program repeatedly, it becomes like second nature. Often times our minds will wander with our bodies on auto-pilot. The key to remaining present is FOCUS. Drawing your attention to the present moment, with each rep or set, allows you to slow down and really get into the exercise. Instead of just blindly moving your body through the routine, taking the time to be in it will make a world of difference.
4. If All Else Fails, Connect to the Breath
Breathing is the most basic and natural way to become more mindful in any given situation. Whether you’re at the store, in the carpool lane, working out or brushing your teeth – breathing is always happening! If you feel yourself rushed or disembodied during exercise, bring your awareness to the breath. This will immediately cause your mind to stop wandering and draws all your senses to the present moment.
Want more mindfulness tips? Join my next PiYo challenge and get access to fitness, nutrition and mentoring at the same time!