By Chrissy Fink
We all know the benefits of meditation on our mental wellness and clearly we are all well aware of the importance of cardiovascular exercise, but should we be putting them together? Could putting some Zen in our workouts give us better results, faster?
Meditating during a workout is a fairly new concept – and doesn’t mean jumping on a treadmill after work and zoning out with Access Hollywood playing in the background. Rather, it means tapping into the benefits of meditation in a deliberate and specific way to help boost our metabolism, lower our blood pressure and increase brain activation. Plus, it can intensify the stress-reducing benefits of exercise, which, for many of us, is precisely the reason we’re hooked on our workouts in the first place! And meditating while exercising can even help get your in better shape, faster, by forcing you to visualize the process and boost the results!
Bottom line: by connecting the mind with the body you can take your workouts to another level! But, as with most things in life, meditation takes practice and, unfortunately, doesn’t come naturally to most of us. So, here are some tips to get you started. Stick with it and we promise you’ll soon be hooked!
How To Add Meditation To Your Workout
Breathe. Deep slow breaths, where you breathe slowly in through the nose and out through the mouth, will relax your muscles and start to prepare your mind to focus. When your heart rate gets pumping it can be difficult to continue to breathe slowly and deeply so be sure to start this breathing exercise before you begin sweating and panting.
Focus. Don’t allow yourself to think about your day at the office or what you’re having for dinner. This is your time for improvement and self work. Whatever the goal of the moment is, that’s what needs to be on your mind. Put the other stuff aside. Your breath will help you in this area. Remember: practice makes perfect.
Adopt A Mantra. Whether you settle on a consistent mantra or change it from workout to workout, remind yourself of your intention. State your goals, desires or challenges and work to achieve and surpass them. If, for example, your goal is for stronger and leaner legs, keep visualizing and focusing on the goal as you repeat “for legs that are strong, I’ll work hard and long.” Put thought into your actions instead of just acting.
Need more help getting Zen? Take yoga classes to improve your mediation skills!