Wellness Tip: Mindfulness is not just for Meditation! Try it for your exercise routines this summer and see how your performance improves.
Now that it’s warm outside many of you are starting to rev up your workout routines. Instead of “distracting” yourself when you work out, try instead to be mindful during your workout. Doing so will help you gain a better brain-body connection, put you in a better “flow” state, and accomplish your goals with better intention and your performance will improve. Here are some tips to get you into this state:
1. Before beginning your workout, take a few deep breaths and “ground” yourself. Imagine your breath bringing oxygen to the parts of your body you need to work during your workout. On your exhalations, push out distractions and focus on what you are about to do.
2. Set process goals (not outcome goals) for your workout. Try not to focus on running a mile or lifting weights for an hour. Focus instead on improving your technique, setting a regular pace or keeping a positive mental attitude.
3. Do not zone out. It may be tempting to keep your mind off of what you are doing so that the workout ends sooner than later; however, the opposite will happen. Your performance will suffer if you are not focused and you are more likely to lose your form, fall off balance, or develop a negative attitude. If you don’t love to think about your stride, then check in with your breathing. That’s easy enough!
4. Visualize yourself fitter! This doesn’t mean that you need to see yourself thinner or with more muscles, but think of yourself as someone who can climb a mountain or pushing a heavier weight set. Mentally rehearsing will help plans become more automatic for your body to do later.
5. Keep an eye on your self-talk. Try telling yourself that you enjoy challenges and that you’re going to crush your workout. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to get the job done when you’re mentally ready to kill it!
The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Kristen Heath is a Lead Advisor in the Mentoring & Advising Program at IU School of Medicine. She has worked in higher education for over eight years, starting her career off on Air Force Bases teaching Psychology coursework. She is passionate about lifelong learning and devotion to personal well-being. When she is not in the advising office you can find her teaching Zumba, dancing, or riding bikes with her son, Ryder. She is a fan of the outdoors and loves to camp, hike and garden.