Mind-Body Fitness Hacks
Meditation – mindfulness – is a method that you can use for a more effective workout. Most people don’t realize the power of the mind-body relationship or how you can use that relationship to help shape your body using your mind. In fact, the mind-body fitness hacks are some of the most powerful fitness hacks.
Use Mindfulness to Make your Workout a Habit
Meditation can make the difference between your fitness routine becoming a successful habit, or your new workout routine becoming just another two-week waste of time. Mindfulness training can help you focus on your fitness goals. Meditation, mindfulness, being present during your workout are under-utilized habit hacks.
The benefit of being present, mindful, is that you keep your focus on the experience of your workout. At the time of your workout. Sure, it helps your motivation to remind yourself of your ultimate goal: losing weight; becoming more fit in order to keep up with your children; becoming more fit to improve your tennis game. Keeping those long-range goals in front of you on a daily basis can help keep you motivated. But during your workout, you must be present for the workout. You must focus on your immediate goals.
Personal Example: My Core Fitness
Mind-body fitness hacks can be super-simple. In fact, the best hacks are simple. To use my own example of improving my core fitness (to compensate for degenerative spinal cord disease): instead of focusing on my long-range goal of wanting to improve my core fitness, or even the shorter-range goal of increasing the number of hanging knee-up reps that I achieve during the week, mindfulness during my workout helps me focus on simply adding a couple reps during each individual workout. I focus on that workout during that workout, not the overall goal. That way, I add a couple reps each workout, but keep moving toward my ultimate goal of improving my core.
Mind-Body Fitness Hacks: Eliminate Distractions
Turn Television OFF During Your Workout!
Many people, including me (until recently), intentionally use distractions during their workouts. They are intentionally not present. They watch television while they work out. Watching television during your workout will prevent you from focusing. It will prevent you from amping up the intensity. It will prevent you from being present. Yes, I use music to help set the rhythm and boost the intensity of my workouts. But in this way, I use music to augment my workouts, not detract from them. I use music to increase focus, not to distract from my workout. As in most of life, turning the television off will benefit you hugely!
What to Do Instead
During your workout, be present: Experience how it feels to move your body. Pay attention to the sensations of motion. Visualize yourself going through each exercise. Visualize yourself more fit, trimmer, sleeker, stronger. Visualize your muscles, lean and powerful.
Try this: During each exercise or activity, select one sense to focus on. Only your breathing. Or just what you hear. Or only what you can feel. Or only on the rhythm of your feet meeting the pavement during a run. Or the pump of your muscles during a High-Intensity-Interval-Training session. Or the wind on your skin during a bike outing. Stay focused on that one sensation only.
This will plant you in the present. Your mind won’t wander. This mindfulness method can be considered “moving meditation.”
Moving Ahead…Habits That Stick
Using this focus-mindfulness exercise will also keep you from experiencing the distasteful aspects of your fitness routine. The drudgery of it. The boredom of it. The difficulty of it. Being present can help you get your new fitness habit to stick. Being present will keep you motivated and on-track to your ultimate goal. Give it a try.
We’ve focused only on the physical fitness benefits of mindfulness in this post. There are so many more benefits of meditation on your life … reducing stress, increasing productivity, improving your relationships with others, improving your relationship with yourself, improving you overall health and longevity.
And we’ll begin exploring how to achieve all those benefits in upcoming articles. Until then, keep chillin…