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How mindfulness can help your training

posted on Tuesday, 30th June 2015 | find under Tamara
Historically linked to Buddhist meditation, mindfulness is defined as “the intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment”. But mindfulness is no longer the exclusive precinct of religious practice, or even yoga practice. Here Robyn Kennedy, Sweaty Betty’s Glasgow boutique manager and health blogger at prettyfoolofgoodness.wordpress.com, explores mindfulness as a tool for fitness success in all disciplines…

Robyn Kennedy Sweaty Betty

Robyn strengthens and nourishes her body, wearing the To The Beat Dance Leggings (sold out) and Athlete Vest in Monarch Orange

It's the hottest topic in town, and everyone from politicians, top business leaders and athletes are using the techniques, touted as the cure for almost everything from depression, stress, anxiety and chronic pain. Google sends its employees on mindfulness training courses. The Guardian advocates that mindfulness should be part of school curriculums. Just a good excuse for day dreaming? Think again.

The intention of mindfulness is not necessarily emptying or clearing the mind, but rather observing it and directing it. The purpose is to become more aware of physical sensations in the body and subsequent responses we have to such sensations. Every moment we are awake our brains are processing millions of different cognitive processes. With a raft of modern distractions, from overflowing inboxes to endless smartphone notifications, it’s easy to procrastinate or jump unproductively between tasks. Which is why mindfulness can enhance productivity, teaching us to notice distracting thoughts and compartmentalise them so we can get on with more urgent or important priorities.

Within the fitness world, mindfulness is every bit as useful. Many studios now promise holistic wellbeing benefits with meditation and mindfulness built into their classes. Even the big names in high-intensity exercise, such as Psycle London and Soulcycle in the US, now incorporate beautiful interiors, low lighting and inspiring soundtracks with an aim to promote calm and empower visitors to achieve a more rewarding mind-body connection.

In fact, focusing on the mental benefits of exercise can encourage a healthier approach to training that is not just about changing our bodies. Sometimes just enjoying the physical act of doing something can be all the positive influence we need, and much more beneficial than striving for an unachievable state of perfection. If going to the gym or running a specific distance is making you feel terrible, a change of pace or activity could prove more effective and make you more likely to stick to a new regime.

Being ever present in what you do, and why you are doing it, is the essence of mindfulness. It should be, as the definition states, a non-judgemental focus on the thoughts and sensations occurring in the present. So the next time you don’t quite manage to smash a personal best, or choose a long walk instead of a run, accept your decision as a mindful step towards your fitness goals and feel good for listening to your body.

Mindfulness in training

Erika practices mindful running in the Dive In Bikini Top, Sunrise Run Tank and Triple Jump Run Shorts

Get a better understanding of mindfulness with Sweaty Betty's Get Your Om Back challenge, with 30 days of yoga poses to focus your mind and incorporate a moment of zen into every day.

 
Really Like This Post
By Mark Rahaman - 13th July 2015
I believe This is so important and a natural part of working out if done properly. When I work with my clients I often get feedback about how they enjoy the break from their busy schedules, having the time for themselves. Also how working out has helped many through difficult times, I believe it a lot of the unseen benefits is from having that time within a training session to be mindful while getting stronger along with having fun.
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