How Mindfulness Can Help You Get a Better Workout

The Benefits of Staying in the Moment

There’s a flow that happens when we pay attention to what we’re doing in the current moment, one that we may be missing out on with those distractions.

Mindfulness during exercise can bring you:

  • A stronger connection to your body: When you focus on each exercise, the muscles you’re working, and what you’re actually accomplishing, you get more out of each exercise and each workout.

  • Better results: When you focus on your what you’re doing, you improve the quality of your movement and, as a result, the quality of your overall workout.
  • More satisfaction: When you know exactly what you’re working, how each exercise feels and whether you’re getting the most out of each exercise, you can end your workout knowing you did your best.

Focus Your Eyes on a Set Target

Keeping your eyes focused on a target in the distance while walking makes you walk faster and makes the distance seem shorter, according to research published in Motivation and Emotion.

“People are less interested in exercise if physical activity seems daunting, which can happen when distances to be walked appear quite long … These findings indicate that narrowly focusing visual attention on a specific target, like a building a few blocks ahead, rather than looking around your surroundings, makes that distance appear shorter, helps you walk faster and also makes exercising seem easier.”

Exercise in Front of a Mirror

The simple act of watching yourself exercise in a mirror will make your workout more efficient, as people have a tendency to adopt a step pattern that is similar to people around them. By watching yourself in a mirror, it may encourage you to stabilize your movement pattern for a more efficient workout. Study authors explained, “Visual information influences treadmill locomotion and associated measures of stability even when there is no intention to coordinate with external stimuli.”

Use Positive Affirmations

When you’re tempted to quit, stay positive by reminding yourself you can do it. Positive affirmations like “I am strong” and “I’m full of energy” work well here, and research suggests they can also boost performance. Nick Galli, an assistant professor of sport psychology: “Positive self-talk reinforces your confidence and boosts your energy so you won’t quit when you feel tired or challenged.”

Listen to Music

When exercisers were able to listen to their favorite songs during a session of sprint interval training, their perceived enjoyment increased and was consistently higher than those performing the interval training without music. Past research has also shown that music can significantly boost your exertion level during a workout.

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