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Mindfulness

Sound mind, sound body

As the stimulation and connectivity of our increasingly digital lives has increased, so too has the need to slow down, breathe and reconnect with ourselves through mindfulness.

A woman sitting cross legged balancing two basketballs

How can physical activity help with mindfulness?

Mindfulness is not just yoga breathing exercises or a new age fad. At its core, practicing mindfulness is simply focusing internally, and being aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.

Incorporating mindfulness into the day looks different for everyone. What’s important is that you find a way that works for you – and take advantage of the benefits, such as increased focus, reduced stress and a mind free of distractions.1

Research shows that when mindfulness is combined with exercise, you can find improvements in stress, depression, sleep and anxiety.2

There is also research to support that practicing mindfulness while you get active can help promote exercise initiation and maintenance over longer periods of time.

On the flipside, practicing mindfulness may even help you on your journey to achieving physical activity goals: studies link mindfulness to greater physical health by reinforcing your desire to make healthier lifestyle choices!

 

Here’s how:

  • Try out physical activities closely linked with mindfulness and breath such as yoga, tai chi and Pilates. You can now take classes virtually or live, but start slow with a beginner option to learn proper technique and avoid getting discouraged.
  • Focus inward. Pay attention to your body and what you’re experiencing while getting active – if you’re exercising, for example, be aware of your technique and how your muscle groups feel while you’re activating them.
  • Slow down and breathe. No matter how you’re getting active, from a workout to working around the house – take your time and be in the moment, ensuring that you’re doing it properly and with the attention it deserves. You gave yourself the time to do this, so make the most of it. If your mind wanders, try closing your eyes and using your breath to help you refocus.
  • Check out the free ParticipACTION app to track your progress and for ongoing motivation, articles and exercise videos.

References

  1. STULTS-KOLEHMAINEN MA, SINHA R. The effects of stress on physical activity and exercise. SPORTS MED. 2014;44(1):81–121. DOI:10.1007/S40279-013-0090-5
  2. DE BRUIN EI, FORMSMA AR, FRIJSTEIN G, BÖGELS SM. MINDFUL2WORK: EFFECTS OF COMBINED PHYSICAL EXERCISE, YOGA, AND MINDFULNESS MEDITATIONS FOR STRESS RELIEVE IN EMPLOYEES. A PROOF OF CONCEPT STUDY. MINDFULNESS. 2017;8(1):204–217. DOI:10.1007/S12671-016-0593-X