Practice Mindfulness With Exercise

Mindfulness, meditation, and breathing exercises. Many of these ideas have been hot topics to help with mental health. Interestingly, many of the interventions we use as physical therapists involve practicing mindfulness with exercise and movement. For example, learning to be conscious of how you are moving and breathing, or working to change your posture.  

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and allowing an experience to unfold.

In exercise, we use mindfulness constantly, both to pay attention to the form we are using or to organize a specific movement.  

Ways to Use Mindfulness with Exercise

1.  Be specific

Make more specific goals so that you are more likely to get them done. For example, find a quiet time to do your exercises where there is less distraction and you can focus on what you are doing.

2. Use reminders

reminders to be mindful with exercise

You can utilize technology with an alarm on your phone, or go low tech with a sticky note on your windshield or home exercise program.  It can be easy to let your mind wander, especially with activities that are difficult or are tied to a painful experience.

3.  Use mindfulness with certain activities

practice mindfulness with fitness and exercise

This is an easy one to pair with your physical therapy exercise program. And would also be beneficial to associate with activities that are part of your fitness routine: lifting weights, walking, running – the list is endless.  

4.  Breathwork

breath work for mindfulness

Focusing on the breath is not only a good way to help you stay in the moment, it is also really important for muscle performance during exercise.

5. For pain relief

use mindfulness for pain relief

Mindfulness is also a great way to calm your nervous system.  Pain can be generated by a ramped up body and mind, and taking yourself back to the present can help.

“We have only now, only this single eternal moment opening and unfolding before us, day and night.”

~Jack Kornfield

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