There is a lot of talk about mindfulness these days and as a fitness and life coach, I am often
asked, “what exactly is mindfulness?” Here is how I like to explain it. Have you ever arrived
somewhere only to realize you don’t remember the actual drive? Or, have you ever read a
page in a book and you don’t know what you read? This is action without mindfulness. You are not fully present in what you are doing.
Giving 100 percent to what you are doing during the time your are doing it is practicing mindfulness. Mindful activity is the opposite of multi-
tasking; it is single tasking while giving that action 100 percent of your attention. When you are mindful in what you do, you can spend less time at it because you are fully focused.
So how does this translate to fitness? When you are comfortable with an exercise your
mind may drift to your 'to do list' or what you're having for dinner that night. You may lose track of how many reps you have completed or how you performed the exercise. You may lose your form and cause more harm than good.
Next time for example, while doing squats, notice if your weight is shifted towards your toes or towards your heels. The weight of your body should be shifted towards your heels. Note if your abdominals are pulled in tightly, and even notice if you are squeezing your glutes as you lift. While practicing warrior one in yoga, you may pay attention to whether your front knee is bent over the front ankle, or if your back leg is fully straight. Consider if you are leaning forward or keeping your weight in the center. You may also notice the rhythm of your breath. Staying present on the exercise you are doing will allow you to have a more effective workout. You will be more efficient, and need less time. You will have a better quality workout session.
There have also been studies that show that when mindfulness is combined with exercise,
participants have improvements in stress, depression, and levels of anxiety. There has also
been a link to mindful exercise and a feeling of well-being. So, this holiday season when time
is scarce and stress is high, I encourage you to turn off your phones and stay present during
your workouts. Be more effective, feel less stress, and feel happier! Give yourself the gift of
Lizette Guerra is a fitness and life coach in the Tampa Bay Area