Mindfulness is a concept that has gained recent popularity within the health and fitness community, though its meaning is often shrouded in confusion. My Viva has written a few times on what mindfulness is in general, but how you can integrate mindfulness into your fitness routine?
We often get caught up in what our situation was at another time – I was so much thinner, or stronger, or fitter last year. Focusing on something other than the present moment takes away from the present. More importantly, this usually results in feelings of shame or disappointment. Incorporating mindfulness can take the focus off what was and onto what is. This means you recognize and appreciate your current situation for what it is right in that moment.
Taking mindfulness directly into your fitness routine means you’re focusing on what you’re physically doing in the moment. For example, let’s say you’re doing a squat. Being mindful means you’re focusing on exactly what you are doing. You’re focusing on creating tension and spreading the floor between your feet, paying attention to your core and engaging as you lower down, and being aware of how you’re initiating the movement. Not only does this help with correcting, learning or re-enforcing the movement pattern, as you take the time and energy to focus your attention to what you’re doing specifically, it also helps drive memory for that pattern because your whole attention is on the movement, as opposed to doing the squat while you’re thinking about what you need to do once you get back to the office.
For many people, this focus on the present moment in a fitness setting means that their mind is also no longer focused on what other people might be thinking about them which leads to increased confidence in a situation where many people are insecure.
Try being mindful in your next workout session and note the differences you experience.
By Shara Vigeant, BA, NSCA-CPT*D, CFSC