Exercise can help elevate your mood, lower stress levels and anxiety, and enhance sleep quality – but did you know that incorporating mindfulness into your fitness regimen could bring even greater rewards?
No matter the physical activity – from riding your bike and lifting weights to jogging on a treadmill – any physical activity can become mindfully executed. Here are some benefits you may expect:
Exercise can be an excellent way to relieve stress. But when practiced mindfully, its efficacy increases even further – according to one recent study, college students who engaged in mindfulness-based exercising experienced lower levels of negative affect than their counterparts who weren’t practicing mindfulness at the same time.
Mindful movement goes beyond regular exercise in terms of mind-body connection by teaching both body and mind to focus on each move with absolute concentration. The aim is to find attention anchors – such as up and down movements of a barbell during weightlifting, each wheel rotation of cycling bikes or each stroke during pool swimming – which keep your thoughts from wandering off to unfinished emails or long to-do lists that seem never ending.
Mindful movement can easily be integrated into any exercise routine, from stretching before brushing teeth in the morning to taking a short chair yoga break during work – it’s never been easier to bring mindful movement into your life!
Studies have demonstrated the positive benefits of mindful movement for overall wellness, such as relieving depression and mood disorders. Moving your body while remaining fully present and aware can offer numerous advantages such as stress relief, emotional well-being improvement, immune response enhancements, bone health enhancements, balance benefits and much more.
mindfulness-in-motion exercises help you gain more awareness of your body, including breathing patterns, foot-hitting rhythm, how erect walking feels for your spine or any physical sensations experienced during workout. Such discoveries can strengthen focus while simultaneously decreasing stress levels and alleviating anxiety.
Penn State conducted a study that demonstrated when students practiced mindfulness during exercise time, their stress and anxiety levels significantly declined. Mindful movement can include simple activities like taking a walk on your lunch break, doing yoga, or going for a stroll barefoot around your neighborhood.
Juggling multiple tasks at once is never an easy feat, but new research from Penn State indicates that mindful movement may significantly lower anxiety and depression levels. According to Frontiers in Psychiatry’s findings, students participating in meditative exercise experienced reduced negative emotions.
Mindful movement may sound complicated, but its essence lies in engaging in regular physical activity with an intent of mindful movement in mind. Simply put, engaging in these physical activities while placing attention anchors such as lifting weights up and down with each squat stroke, cycling forward at every pedal turn or breathing out rhythmically helps your mind stay on the task at hand instead of wandering off towards emails unanswered or deadlines to come due.
Children with ADHD who participated in mindful movement programs saw significant improvement in their attentional capabilities (Clark et al, 2020). For non-ADHD individuals as well, mindfulness may provide benefits by decreasing depressive and anxious thoughts while improving focus and attention span.
Mindfulness and exercise have often been discussed separately; however, an increasing number of people want to incorporate mindful movement techniques into their regular workouts. Tired of feeling as though they must “crush it” at the gym to feel energized, many wish instead for a more meditative workout experience.
Add mindfulness practices into your exercise regimen through simple strategies. Start your day right by beginning it with mindful stretching exercises or enroll in an hour-long yoga class that emphasizes breath and body awareness.
Or take a long walk or go hiking in nature while paying close attention to all of the sounds, smells and sights around you. Even playing tennis can become more meaningful by becoming fully present in each moment and being aware of body sensations. Furthermore, Penn State recently conducted research that shows mindful movements were linked with decreased negative mood.