Healthy Habits

Turn Your Physical Exercise into a Mindfulness Exercise

Man jogging with dog

Content provided by the Health & Wellness Team at GBS Benefits

The practice of mindful movement is like any other mindfulness practice. The goal is to bring full attention to the present moment and bring awareness to our movement and breathing. Many people look to distract themselves during a workout with loud music or a thrilling TV show. By removing these distractions, you can switch up your mindfulness practice and focus on how your body moves throughout the exercise routine. Leave the headphones at home and try to bring your awareness to what you’re doing as you do it. If distracting thoughts arise, redirect your attention to your breath or your body. You might even find you enjoy your workout more when you bring mindfulness to your practice.

Pause and consider your intention. What would you like to gain from your exercise today? Whether your goal is to be stronger, enhance your endurance, navigate your emotions, or gain more energy, remember that purpose and allow it to motivate you.

Unplug. Be fully present in your workout. Turn off the playlist for at least one workout this week and see how your focus changes.

Tap into body sensations. Bring your attention to the physical experience. Does your body feel different than it did yesterday? Notice your breathing and which muscles are being used.

Renew your resolve. One of the attitudes of mindfulness is acceptance—not wishing the present moment to be different than it is. Exercising is a perfect time to practice this. Do you notice any resistance to the workout experience—perhaps wishing you were almost done, or that your quads would stop quaking? Commit to your workout time, remember your reasons for being there, and try to stay present from start to finish.

Exercise kindness. Notice the quality of your thoughts during workouts. Can you appreciate your current ability, speed, and endurance just as they are? If you work out in an in-person or virtual group, can you let go of the “comparison mindset” and instead thank yourself for showing up for this healthy activity?


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