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A fitness guru shares why you need to bring mindfulness into your workouts

Updated on:9 September 2020, 19:56pm IST
Much like everything else in life, your exercise regimen also needs to be mindful—one where you listen to your body, instead of advice from anyone and everyone.
Vesna Peričević Jacob
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You need to push through mental blocks and not physical pain
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Most people exercise to look good—but there is so much more to it. Exercise can help strengthen your immune system, help you cope with stress, and improve your mood. I am sure most of you exercise, but do you listen to your body before and after a workout?

Our body is constantly communicating to us, through aches or pains and energy levels. When it comes to working out, we must try and attune our workouts to what our bodies want. If you are low on energy or feeling stiff, a gentle workout that focuses more on stretching and opening up the body is what your body needs and was asking for.

This may sound totally contrary to one of the most commonly used and in my opinion one of the most dangerous fitness mantras ‘no pain no gain’. I prefer saying ‘pushing through’ but pushing through the mental blocks not the physical feedback from your body.

Here’s why you need to opt for mindful exercise
Mindful exercise where you can keep the needs of your body and what you want from it in balance will be far more effective than following a workout routine without thinking simply because this is what someone has else told you to do. A word of caution: in order for this to work, you will need to learn is to know when it is your brain talking, or it is your body talking to you.

Sometimes, the feedback can be very similar—say for example you are feeling genuinely tired or lazy. When this happens, if you look inwards deep down, more often than not you will get the right answer. If you are just feeling lazy, then this is the point where I would like you to push through the mental barriers.

Also, read: Here’s how mindful meditation can rescue you from anxiety

As you become attuned to your body, you will be able to plan and execute workouts more effectively, and the results show the benefits of this balance in both how look and feel.

Mindfulness during exercise
Mindfulness could help promote positive body image.

This is especially important for beginners
For those you who are just now starting their fitness journey or trying out new things—assess your body’s capabilities objectively, find out what all kinds of exercises you enjoy, and what your body responds to. Build upon that learning experience, if you able to incorporate this mindfulness from the very beginning of your journey there are fewer chances of physical setbacks.

The last thing I will ask you to bring a balance between performance and expectations. Each body is unique and responds differently to exercise; there are known and often unknown physiological factors that may make the journey to your fitness goals more difficult.

If you keep focusing on the process than the results, you will continue to benefit, get healthier, and will not get disheartened or disappointed easily. It will also allow you to adapt and change your fitness routine till you find the path brings you both satisfaction and success.  Every workout routine should be tailor-made for your body, one shoe does not fit all.

Vesna Peričević Jacob Vesna Peričević Jacob

Vesna is a physiotherapist, author, accomplished Pilates teacher, and functional applied science specialist. She is also a lifestyle coach, motivational speaker, clinical hypnotherapist and healer.