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3 tips for boosting mindfulness with exercise

Photo: Viktor Bystrov/Unsplash
Monks and sages have been saying it for ages – mindfulness has a remarkable ability to boost our mental and physical well-being, and consequently, fill us with a sense of calm, and make us healthier and happier.
Now, a new study from the University of Bath, UK, has confirmed the age-old wisdom. It suggests that combining mindfulness with exercise or physical activity has psychological benefits. Together, they can lift our mood, reduce stress and anxiety, improve our health, and set us on the path to success.
“Mindfulness is an approach that can help us ‘train up’ the psychological strengths we need to exercise and be more in tune with our bodies, as well as make exercising more interesting and help us recognise its benefits,” says Masha Remskar from the University’s Department of Health.
She adds, “This may be because becoming more mindful prompts us to think differently about our lifestyle, makes us more accepting and less judgmental of our own shortcomings, which can help to build healthy habits. There is a huge potential to use mindfulness to unlock the positive benefits exercise can bring.”
Mindfulness has the potential to change our lives for the better; the problem is practicing mindfulness in the midst of our increasingly tech-driven busy schedules with little or no work-life balance. For many of us, training our minds to be mindful is just as challenging as maintaining a state of awareness.
Here are three easy steps we can adopt to practice mindfulness while engaging in physical activity.
Start small
We can start small by setting a clear and realistic goal. It can be anything from focusing on our breath and body sensations while walking, jogging or working out to admiring our surroundings to cultivating kind and positive thoughts as we move about. This will motivate us to remain in the present as we exercise or engage in other physical activities.
Stay present
A mind on the run does not serve a body on the move. Whenever we find our mind drifting to all kinds of thoughts, we can try to bring it back to the present moment and to the task or job at hand. This requires tremendous patience and perseverance, but with regular practice we can prevent our mind from wandering to past regrets or future worries and live in the moment.
Show gratitude
At least once or twice a day, we should express gratitude for our ability to think and move, appreciate the effort we put in, the difficulties we overcome, and acknowledge the opportunity to practice mindfulness.
By incorporating these mindfulness techniques into our exercise or physical routine and by extension into our daily lives, we can be calm and happy, and experience a greater sense of wellness.
© Prashant C. Trikannad

2 Kommentare

You are so right about the value of mindfulness. It certainly helps psychologically, and research is showing physical advantages, too. Things like heart function, neurological function, and so on are all improved with mindfulness. And as you say, it doesn't take drastic changes.

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Margot, thank you for commenting. The great thing about mindfulness is that it can be practiced anywhere and anytime — at our desk in the office, waiting for a bus or train, on our morning walk, etc. Even a few minutes of mindfulness every day can infuse us with a sense of calm and clarity as we go about our busy lives.

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