Health is mental as well as physical.
When you’re looking to improve your overall health, you can’t only focus on workouts for your body – you have to pay attention to your mind as well. Which is why mindful workouts could be the next big thing.
Mindfulness app Headspace has launched Move Mode – a new mind-body fitness experience that aims to strengthen both the mind and body together.
By combining the cognitive and the physical, Headspace is aiming to incorporate the mindful anchors of intention, breathing, timing, form and recovery, into people’s fitness regimes.
And it’s easy to try. Here’s a simple mindful cardio workout that you can try this weekend:
Mindful cardio workout
Created by Kim Glass, US Olympic volleyball player
Exercise is as much about the mind as it is the body. Mindful moments to yourself, whilst exercising, are important to get perspective on your thinking and connect mind with body.
It’s about getting perspective on the thoughts that keep us
from getting up and moving. Let them come and go; they’re just thoughts, and
once we recognise our thoughts as that, they hold less power over us.
Take a moment to set your intention
Take a couple of deep breaths in through the nose, and out through the mouth.
If the mind wanders, bring the attention gently back to the movement of your body.
When you’re ready, start jogging
Get used to the feeling for a couple of minutes and set your own pace. Be present in the body, be aware of how it feels, but not paying so much attention that you start changing how you naturally move. Find a state of flow.
Focus on the breath for a minute
Breathing in and out through the nose; keep count of your next ten breaths and try to keep a steady rhythm of breathing.
Counting breaths helps you stay focused
If that doesn’t work, bring your attention back to the movement.
After five or six minutes of running, bring it back to a walk
Walk at a pace that feels right for you. Take a moment to check in with your body and relax into the walk.
When you’re ready, pick up the pace and start jogging again
This will last for around three minutes: long enough to get comfortable. It should feel effortless: without strain or aggression.
Continue to focus on your breathing
And keep up a natural pace, connecting your mind with the movement of your body.
Bring it back to the walk
Check in and see how you feel; even though we’re walking, we’re still present with each step and can be mindful about everything we do.
Keep focusing on your body
If you find yourself distracted, bring it back to the feeling of your feet touching on the ground with each step.
You can keep walking, or wind down for a stretch
Find somewhere quiet and comfortable to focus on each muscle group: the arms, stretching forward to reach your toes and stretching out your quads. As you do this, focus on the areas that you need as you go, focusing your breath as you connect with each part of your body.
Acknowledge your achievement
As you continue with your day, maintain that feeling of accomplishment. Even if you had some thoughts that might have distracted you from exercising, recognise that you didn’t follow them and remember that mentally for next time.
Remember what got you motivated, and how you were able to let your thoughts come and go. Come back to that feeling whenever you need it and bring your focus back to your breath.
What is Move Mode?
It’s essentially mindful fitness: low-to-medium impact exercises and cardio to get your heart pumping.
Move Mode has four new ways to get moving for Headspace users who want to be more mindful or consistent with their exercise routines.
- Mindful Cardio: 15-minute sessions combine walking, jogging, and running.
- Get Moving four-week program: A gentle 28-day program. Each four-week course is centred around a different theme each week: week one is focused on intention setting; week two is focused on motivation; week three is appreciation and week four is putting consistency into practice.
- Quick Workouts: Simple, 25-minute workouts requiring no equipment. Users need space, maybe something to lean on, a yoga mat if preferred, and workout clothes. These sessions range from stretching to explosive movements.
- Rest-day meditations with Andy: A great workout routine also includes rest days. With Headspace, a rest day is the perfect opportunity for meditation or visualisation.
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