Fitness Trail: Exercise you mind
July 14, 2014
Every exercise performed may benefit from a strong, clear mind and body connection. There are no downsides to focused exercise. When you are distracted, the body cannot properly adhere to the task at hand and that leads to diminished outcomes and results. While the topic of distracted exercise has been covered in this column previously, this week specifically highlights exercising the mind while working out.
Follow the 10 tips for refining your mind and body connection and begin to experience a greater sense of accomplishment with each training session. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
• Rather than zoning out while you are training, concentrate on a specific goal that you have created regarding your physical fitness journey. Challenge yourself by keeping track of how long within the duration of your session that day you were engaged in the activity at hand. Attempt to increase the duration of exercising the mind throughout each work out.
•"Listening" to your mind connecting with your body, at the cellular level, requires laser focus and that means avoiding watching television, checking text messages and emails, talking on the cell phone or chatting with fellow exercisers. Wait until your session is completed and then socialize and answer emails and phone calls. It is unlikely that you are able to optimally perform if you are distracted.
• Playing motivating music may actually enhance your session rather than distract, so choose music you like creating excitement and interest and then immerse yourself in the tempo, beat, phrasing and message as you perform each repetition, mile or stroke. The elements present in music flow well with movement forms.
• Visualize the movement that you are creating throughout the work out. See and feel every aspect of the pedal stroke, stride or the pushing/pulling of the weights and concentrate on excellent form and technique throughout.
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• Move from one exercise to the next keeping the mind directed toward that specific next exercise.
• If you sense the mind losing focus, remember the reason that you are exercising and the outcomes you hope to achieve. You will get there if you pull the mind back to the task and re-establish your rhythm.
• Performing each movement with intention and purpose requires that the mind is communicating with the body seamlessly. Think — no beginning and no ending as you move your body.
• Determining where you are at in space and time throughout the session keeps the mind actively engaged in each motion. If you are performing squats at the Smith Machine, align the mind and body within the frame and bar.
• If performing a circuit training format, each time you repeat the same station, ask yourself how you might improve from the previous set. Then, begin and end that set with that concept firmly planted in your mind and body.
• Each time you enter the health club, workout room at home, or group exercise class, release any expectations from the outside world and create that bond between the mind and muscle that cannot be broken.
Does exercising the mind mean that you cannot attend fun group exercise classes and benefit? Absolutely not, however, even during those fun format classes, keep the mind actively engaged and you will reap greater rewards while having fun!
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at http://www.MTNLifeFitness.com, her email at email@example.com and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.