Exercise is something that you might not immediately associate with mindfulness. But the mind and body are intimately connected. That means that what affects one, affects the other. This means that exercise a great way to improve mindfulness.
Movement and activity
Mindful movement and mindful activities are common variations on the mindful meditation practice that people usually start with. The purpose of these activities is to learn to be mindful while carrying out an action. Mindful activities can include all forms of exercise.
It isn’t about mindful exercise
Exercise and physical activity, in general, can improve your ability to be mindful. You don’t have to put a name to it.
You’ll have heard about all of the good things exercise does for your body, from helping you get in shape to lowering your risk for all kinds of diseases, and even early death. But did you know it has positive effects on your mind as well?
In addition to lowering the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety, exercising helps remove the mental signs of stress and anxiety too. It slows down your brain and stops it from racing from one thought to another. Feeling overwhelmed? Exercise will help clear out that feeling.
This makes your mind calmer as well as your body. It improves your ability to concentrate, focus and make decisions. What does that improve? Your ability to be mindful.
What if you don’t exercise daily?
You might not see how this can benefit you if you’re not into working out. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go to the gym every day to improve your mindfulness practice, even though doing so wouldn’t hurt! And while cardiovascular exercise might help more than some other forms, it’s not the only type of exercise that will give you these benefits.
In fact, you don’t even need to set foot in a gym to get the mindfulness benefits of exercise. Nor do you need to start doing physically intense sports such as mountain biking.
So what do you need to do? Here are some simple ideas:
- Take a walk
- Do yoga
- Lift weights
- Take a tai chi class
- Go swimming
All of these are examples of simple, easy, low-intensity “exercises” that will give you the same mental and some of the physical benefits that come with intense workouts. A 15-20-minute walk three days a week is enough to improve your mindfulness abilities. The same applies to these other activities. Try them and see how your mindfulness practice improves!
If you’re still not convinced, then take a look at these hobbies which will help to boost self development.