I hate exercise. There, I said it. I have so many friends and people I look up to that promote exercise as this magic activity that can make you happy, but the truth is, it can take a while for those endorphins to build up.
When you first start working out, it isn’t fun. You have to force yourself to do it, drag yourself out of bed in the morning or un-glue yourself from your sofa in the evenings to get your ass to the gym. It’s just not fun to start off with!
However, there is hope fellow exercise loathers. Being more mindful and intentional in our workouts could be the answer.
What does it mean to move mindfully?
Moving more mindfully simply means getting fully immersed in how each limb is moving, how you’re breathing and how it’s making you feel.
Too many times I’ve rushed through a workout just to get it over with, but if I had taken my time to really appreciate it, I might feel different about exercise.
Working out is scientifically proven to boost endorphins and help us feel good from the inside out, sorry to tell you that every fitness nut you’ve met has a point and they’re not just being annoying.
Exercise can be fun, but we have to give it a chance and actually go into it 100% in order to get the most out of it. This might mean leaving your phone in the locker when heading to the gym. Choosing to workout music or podcast free or choosing to workout solo rather than in with a distracting friend. It is distraction that takes us away from really being mindful when first starting a new exercise routine.
What types of workouts help us to be more mindful?
There are certain workouts and exercises that you can do to help you be more mindful without taking any drastic action. Any workout that uses slow and controlled movement is a good shout, or exercise that requires you to have a mindful control over your whole body, such as dance or barre.
Some of my favourite mindful exercises are the following:
- Yoga (obviously)
- Weights & strength training
- Pole fitness & aerial fitness (my absolute faves)
- Rock climbing & bouldering
The best thing is, slightly less conventional methods of working out, like the ones listed above, are becoming increasingly popular, so there is a good chance there is a gym or specialist centre near you that offers these classes.
How mindful movement can help us with our physical and mental strength
The most important thing to remember is why you are choosing to move more mindfully. Most people will start a workout routine in order to get their body into shape, but it’s only recently that people have started to speak out about how they are working out for their mind as well.
I’m happy to say a lot of my fitness blogger friends are all about how fitness helps your mentality rather than the way you look. They promote a balanced and healthy lifestyle that serves you body and mind and I love that (and them, love you guys!).
Being more mindful of your movement, and this could be in your daily life as well, helps to combat and control stress, promote relaxation and helps you feel more in touch with your body. It’s so much easier to respect and appreciate the body you have when you are paying attention to every inch of it and how it works. You start to appreciate the strength and stamina your body has and you may even be surprised about what you are truly capable of!
Do you workout for your mind as well as your body? How do you make sure to be more mindful during your workouts?