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As we all know, mindfulness is the art of being in the present moment. It is an important skill to learn, because it doesn’t just enhance focus, but also improves the quality of your life. Let’s just say mindfulness is even more important when it comes to physical exercise. Yes, it’s true. And when it comes to running, it is even more effective. Plus, it will help to make them more enjoyable!
That’s because when you practice mindfulness while running, you are more in tune with your body and breath, and that can help you achieve the best outcome. This also brings down stress levels and that can help in improving the quality of your runs.
Now that you have some idea about why mindfulness is important here, let’s get down to details.
The answer is by making them more present. As mentioned above, it helps runners focus more on their physical sensations and emotions. There’s a study that was conducted in 2009 that testifies to this. It says that mindfulness training may help runners “develop better acceptance of any experience of anxiety around running and to not let their worries distract and bother them as much.”
What’s more, another study published in 2019 revealed that mindfulness training can also help to get rid of all competition-related anxiety, especially in top-performing athletes. It also improves sports performance and aids in faster recovery from injuries. In fact, it also reduces the occurrence of injuries.
Last but not the least, there’s another 2019 study that shows how mindfulness improved the mental well-being in baseball players.
Being mindful can help runners get into the zone. It starts with focusing on the breath, and then it moves to observing the various sensations that happen in the body, while running. Trust us, you will find out if you are in the flow, once there is no chatter in the mind. And if you feel your mind is wandering away, you can bring your attention back to your breath and body.
There’s also some evidence to show that practising mindfulness can activate your parasympathetic nervous system. When the mind is in the ‘mindful zone’, there will be more rest and less stress on your body. It also helps to boost muscle recovery during your rest days.
It isn’t so easy at first, but as they say, practice makes a (wo)man perfect, so don’t stop! First of all, warm up your body with belly breathing.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Breathe in deeply through your nose and out through your mouth.
2. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly, to ensure that your diaphragm inflates with air.
3. Do five to six deep breaths before starting your run. You can do them right after doing some pre-run warm-up exercises such as light stretching.
Next, make sure you practice nasal breathing. That’s because deep belly breathing works while you are sitting.
1. Focus on steady inhales and exhales through your nose.
2. If you find it difficult to breathe deeply through your nose, you can let out the occasional exhale through your mouth.
3. If you maintain a consistent running pace, you should eventually be able to practice nasal breathing for the duration.
4. Stay focused on each breath in and each breath out.
5. Notice how your breathing rate is starting to change as you go.
Last but not the least, do notice sensations in your body, while you are running. You could also experience pain or discomfort; let’s
just say that is your body’s way of signalling to you that you must slow down.
So ladies, practise mindfulness and enhance your runs by a notch!