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Mindfulness in exercise helps you destress.

Do you find that your mind tends to wander off during your Pilates sessions? Maybe you get distracted thinking of other obligations. Maybe you start scrolling through your phone or are busy talking to your workout buddy. Exercising mindlessly can lead to poor form, incomplete muscle activation, and in the worst case, injuries. Here is where “mind-body connection”, the key to effective workouts, comes into play.

What is a Mind-Body Connection?

Mind-body connection is the conscious focus on the movements of the body. One example are the muscles. It’s as easy as picturing the muscles in your mind as you are working them. Push-ups, for example, work several muscles, including the triceps, chest, glutes, and back. Actively focusing on these muscle regions while doing your push-ups allows the muscles to work to a fuller potential. That way you get the biggest bang for your buck! You can even visualize the micro-tears in the muscles as they are contracting and expanding. How’s that for mindfulness?

Benefits of MindBody Connection

This leads me to the long-lasting mental benefits of mind-body connection in your workouts. Being in the moment throughout your entire workout is easier said than done, especially when your abs are on fire and you’re ready to pass out! Thus, Pilates is not only a physical workout, but a mental workout.

Practicing Mindfulness while Exercising

Pilates is a fantastic way to practice mindfulness, because it involves a heightened sense of physical awareness. Abs in, shoulders plugged, breath steady…there are a ton of things to remember in Pilates, and mindfulness is the key to staying focused. It is common for people to come into their workout sessions distracted and stressed, and it’s important to remember that being present and putting your mind to your body will ultimately relieve stress and make for a more enjoyable workout. Rather than looking at exercise, whether it be Pilates or any other form of physical activity, as a chore to get over with, see it as a break from the stresses of everyday life. Take exercise as an opportunity to practice mindfulness and boost your well-being, and it will become something to look forward to and cherish.

Next time you go into a workout, try to stay in tune with your body, and focus steadily on each and every movement. Not only will you be working your body more effectively, but you will also gain some serious mindfulness skills.

Alexa Muller is a senior at Academy of Allied Health High School participating in their Senior Mentorship Program.