How to Exercise Mindfully
Although society is becoming increasingly mindful, food and exercise seem to remain intrinsically tied by guilt — how many times have you seen someone on social media feeling they have to justify their high calorie meal by stating they will hit the gym the next day? Or say how terrible they feel about missing a workout? We need to move away from this negative mindset and understand that exercise can be mindful, and doesn’t need to be fuelled by guilt.
The key to mindful fitness is to view it as a concept that merges both fitness and mindfulness — giving us the freedom to perceive exercise as a type of moving mediation. Your workout should begin with intention — what do you want to achieve? This may be about self-care, about learning to master a particular pose or movement, or to work on strengthening a specific area of your body. Your perception of fitness won’t change until your intention changes, and your intention should be more about your holistic self rather than your aesthetic self.
Movement during fitness needs to focus on strengthening your physical and emotional self. Exercise that helps your muscles, increases your bone density, and aids you in becoming more flexible is what matters, rather than the type of exercise you undertake, which can be anything from weight training to dancing.
Fitness does not need to be tied up with failure or, as mentioned earlier, guilt. If we don’t finish a run, we have not failed; if we can’t lift that weight, it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we build fitness on a foundation of intention and kindness.
We are all becoming more aware of the fundamental need to work on our selves as holistic beings, rather than ‘parts’, and by uniting our physical and psychological health via fitness, we are certainly moving towards that goal.