When it comes to exercise, we all have our own way of doing it. Maybe we like to run, take a yoga class or—my favorite—hit the surf. Some of us care about having the latest workout clothes; for others, that’s not important.
But how much thought do you give to the role of your mind in the exercises you do? We might spend months researching the latest bike or pair of sneakers, but if we don’t train and engage the mind correctly, our exercise can never reach its full potential.
Put simply, if we want our bodies to be fit, our minds must be, too.
How to Train Your Mind
For exercise to be most effective, achieving mental balance is essential. Get this right, and workouts naturally become more fun, effective and sustainable.
All we need to do is step back from that constant stream of thought that tends to clutter the mind. By stepping back, we create more space in the mind, which makes it easier to become aware of the moment and focus on the exercise we’re doing. And this is mindfulness—the route to mental balance that’s prescribed to everyone from Olympic athletes to the likes of you and me.
Mindfulness gives us a clarity and lack of distraction that’s essential for mental balance. In exercise, it gives us confidence to perform every stroke and move every muscle naturally and to the very best of our ability.
Imagine swimming mindfully, focused on perfecting every stroke with the best sense of timing, effort and ease. The results from completing 50 lengths like this will be far superior to swimming up and down while worrying about work and what to make for dinner.
Working out mindfully means we’re giving the exercise we work so hard on the attention it deserves, giving us the best results yet.