You’ve probably heard of mindfulness exercises in relation to meditation and yoga, but what about our high intensity, sweat-inducing, calorie-burning classes??
We discuss how being mindful can help you to get more out of your workouts.
So, what is mindfulness?
To put it simply, being mindful is the act of being ‘present’ at any given moment. So, instead of doing things on autopilot (have you ever got to the end of an exercise circuit and wondered how you got there?), mindfulness promotes more of a focus on the ‘here and now’. Whether it’s during a group exercise class or whilst you’re out running on your own, mindfulness can be applied to any situation.
Here are a few snippets on how and why you can apply mindfulness to your own fitness journey for an improved experience.
1. Increase satisfaction during your workout
We all know that exercise releases feel-good endorphins in the body, that buzzing feeling you get after a hard workout is proof of that. But how many of us actually take notice when we’re halfway through a gruelling class?
Take burpees, for instance (we all know how much our members love them!). You may even find that focusing on doing what might normally be your least favourite exercise, rather than consciously trying to distract yourself from it, can make the whole experience more satisfying.
Next time you go to do a set of burpees, instead of focusing on how it’s going to feel, let yourself experience one at a time and see how it changes your perception.
2. Keep going for longer
You often hear the word mindfulness in relation to meditation, and the first thing you’ll be asked to do in a meditation session is to gently focus on your breathing. You can apply this while you’re exercising too.
Becoming more aware of your breath during a workout can ensure you’re giving your body what it needs to keep going.
You should always be able to talk during a workout, so next time, notice your breath and adapt your effort levels if you’re feeling a little too out of breath, or when you feel like you can push harder.
3. Practice good form and protect your body from injury
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in putting the maximum effort into your workout that your form deteriorates and you end up injuring yourself. In a similar way to the focus on your breath, doing a mental ‘scan’ of your body whilst exercising can help you gauge how it’s feeling.
This will assist you in ensuring your form is correct for the exercise you’re doing as well as noticing any uncomfortable (or great!) sensations.
4. Reach your goals
Setting goals is massively important, and it’s an exercise we do with all of our personal training clients. If you don’t have a goal, how are you going to stay motivated?
Whilst goals can be motivational, they can also have the opposite effect. It’s extremely easy for a goal to seem too ‘out of reach’ for you to see yourself actually getting there. But practising mindfulness and focusing on one step at a time can help you to stay on track.
So, rather than thinking, ‘I want to double my deadlift weight but I’ll never achieve it’, give yourself a new smaller challenge each time you do a deadlift that will help you get that little bit closer.
With exercise, mindfulness is all about thinking ‘what can I do now that will make me feel good and get me closer to my goal’.
Our personal trainers are here to help you achieve your individual goals, whatever they may be. We love hearing about what you’re aiming for and planning how we can help you get there, so please do get in touch for a chat!