We know exercise is an integral part of any lifestyle. It provides extraordinary physical, mental, and social benefits. However, if your clients are not mindful during their workout, they will not maximise its potential.
Exercise and mindfulness have a synergistic relationship. When they’re used together, they produce enhanced results.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practise of being fully present. During mindfulness your client should be fully aware of where they are and what they are doing. The goal is to not be overwhelmed or over-reactive to what’s going on around them.
Benefits of Mindfulness During Exercise
Research into the benefits of mindfulness is vast. Mindfulness reduces stress, improves sleep, increases focus, and improves relationships. While research on mindfulness during exercise is still growing, there is evidence to support its use.
Improved Mental Health
A 2018 study identified practising mindfulness during exercise can lead to lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Greater Exercise Adherence
Research has shown that people who measured high on mindfulness were more successful at maintaining their exercise regime.
Researchers from the Utrecht University in the Netherlands identified participants who felt more satisfied with their exercise regime practised mindfulness during their workout.
How to Integrate Mindfulness Into an Exercise Session
During a workout, it’s easy for clients to let their minds wander and go through the motions. However, a mindful workout forces their body and mind to connect.
Applying mindfulness during exercise is easier said than done. It takes time and practise to master mindfulness. Use these tips to help your clients integrate mindfulness into their exercise session.
Before a session, take some time to prepare your client’s mind for the upcoming workout. It’s common to go into a workout with thoughts running through the brain. However, we want to draw our clients’ focus to the task at hand – the workout.
How: Spend a few minutes deep breathing before the warm-up.
Identify Client’s Intention
Encourage your client to tap into their why. Why are they here performing a workout? It might be for weight loss or rehabilitation. Whatever their goal, creating awareness around your client’s motivation will, in turn lead to a more productive and effective workout.
How: Discuss clients why before the workout, and remind them during the session.
During a workout encourage clients to connect with their working muscles, rather than just allowing them to mindlessly perform the movement. Creating a mind-muscle connection will help your client get in tune with their bodies.
How: Focus on mind-muscle connection cues. For example, during a plank prompt clients to tighten their core.
Mindfulness aims to create a full focus on the now. However, it’s easy for past and present thoughts to run into the mind. Encourage your clients to recognise their thoughts, then let them go.
How: Prompt clients to return their intention to the workout.
The benefits of mindfulness for health are incontestable. When paired with exercise the benefits are exacerbated. Encourage your clients to integrate mindfulness into their exercise session by staying present before and during their workout.