Need Fitness Motivation? Try Mindfulness

Make exercise more effective -- and fun -- by practicing mindful walking, running, swimming, tai chi, yoga and more (13 Photos)

Maura Rhodes on Jan 11, 2012 at 10:45AM

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Need Fitness Motivation? Try Mindfulness

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Engage Your Senses When You Exercise

For the lucky ones among us, exercise naturally induces a mindful state. The activity is so enjoyable and captivating that it cancels out negative or distracting thoughts. Kozak calls this state sportsamadhi (samadhi being the Sanskrit term for “meditative concentration”). For the rest of us, we’re going to achieve mindfulness by practicing it. “Training for mindfulness is akin to training the body for fitness,” says Kozak. The idea is to practice pushing out unrelated thoughts as they arise, and learning to focus on sensations and whatever you’re doing until it becomes second nature. You’ll not only improve your performance (“If you’re giving your full attention to what you’re doing, you’re bound to do it better,” says Kozak), but also reap the plentiful payoffs of meditation. Studies show it can lower blood pressure, ease chronic pain, improve psoriasis, relieve stress and more. Next time you’re at the gym, tune out CNN and leave your iPod at home. Instead, concentrate on the sound of your sneakers, the cadence of your breath and the rhythmic movement of your arms while nudging your to-do list out of your mind. When you finish, you’ll have logged both a physical workout and a mental one.

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