Mind Over Body Fitness
Want to get fit? Start with your head. In this original series, we look at how mindfulness can improve physical performance.
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Getting physically fit starts with being mindfully fit.
Each year, one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to get fit. And our first thoughts are usually about what gear we need to purchase to make that dream happen — whether that means watches, responsive clothing or fancy home equipment (we’re looking at you, Peloton).
But here’s the thing: All you really need is yourself (and, of course, a good pair of shoes) and a tuned-in mindset. Practicing mindfulness is a way to get ahead of the game and in some instances dramatically improve your performance.
So what does mindful fitness mean? Everything from really thinking about what you’re eating to pushing your limits with meditation to practicing “green exercise” and eco-therapy in the great outdoors.
Tune in and read on.
Think a big juicy steak is the best way to big muscles? Nope, says Arnold Schwarzenegger in this star-studded documentary. The Game Changers, featuring MMA star James Wilks, Jackie Chan, Lewis Hamilton and more, aims to prove that eating plants instead of animals is the best way to optimize athletic performance. And the film has found a quiet but fervent following since its release.
It’s all about slowing down to speed up. From brands to retreats, a new industry is emerging that brings the principles of meditation to goal-oriented runners. It marries the practices of mindfulness and aerobic exercise to maximize the health benefits of both. This is about focusing on your thoughts and your performance, which means leaving the music and watch behind.
Sure, logging miles on a treadmill or climbing hills on the elliptical are solid workouts, but gyms and tracks have nothing on the great outdoors. Not just from a climate perspective, but from a mindful one. Eco-therapy, which was named one of the top wellness trends for 2020, is a growing practice that improves mental and physical health through outdoor activity. But it’s not just about feeling happier and appreciating the planet — greening up your exercise can improve your performance.
Pretty much everyone has heard of Pilates. But the practice of mental control over muscles began with a different name — and purpose. Before inventing his namesake workout, Joseph Pilates pioneered what he called contrology, a form of exercise that was floor-based, used minimal space and could be used to improve both the physical and mental health of internees and wounded veterans. But when dancers caught on to the practice, it became a New York craze and rippled outward.