Kick your boring treadmill cardio up a notch with mindfulness! Practicing mindfulness while on the treadmill doubles your cardio’s health benefits without any extra work or time.
How Mindfulness Supercharges Your Workout
Northern Arizona University (NAU) researchers were amazed when they found that mindfulness improves both your mind and body. In fact, it has the same benefits of exercising – even superseding them in some ways! Did you know you can practice mindfulness while exercising? Here’s what happens when you do:
It boosts your immunity!
You know exercising boosts your immunity. Researchers found that mindfulness does too! Mindfulness plus exercise equals double the sniffles protection.
It boosts your love life and makes you more friendly!
Exercising boosts your social life. Researchers found that participants were less socially anxious after exercising. They felt less threatened by others and were more open. Mindfulness has the same effects! It’s proven to improve your relationships with family, friends, and even strangers. Researchers found it even makes you happier with your significant other and better able to handle rough times in your love life. Source
It lowers stress, blood pressure, and pain!
You know exercising is good for your heart and helps you with stress, but researchers found that mindfulness does too! They found that practicing mindfulness lowers your blood pressure and stress. It also lowers pain and feelings of soreness from your workout, along with any other pain you might have – like back pain or chronic arthritic pain. Practicing mindfulness while you exercise not only saves your heart, but also helps you exercise longer because you won’t feel the burn as much.
It makes you smarter, happier, and protects you from mental illnesses
Scientists found that exercising boosts your memory, learning, and protects you from dementia. Why? Your brain makes a special chemical, irisin, when you exercise (especially endurance training). Irisin promotes genes responsible for learning and memory, and stimulates your brain to make more brain cells. Guess what — mindfulness does too! UC professors found that mindfulness-practicing college students scored higher on the GRE. It also changes your brain’s physical structure, which researchers found makes you concentrate better and lowers your risk for dementia. It also makes you more immune to emotional trauma and prevents depression. Practicing mindfulness while exercising doubles their intelligence-boosting and disease-preventing benefits!
How to Add Mindfulness to Your Treadmill Cardio
NAU researchers say that mindfulness boils down to focusing on the here and now – the exact present. Mindfulness meditation is simply super concentrating on what you’re doing right now. This is easiest to do when you’re doing something mindlessly repetitive – like running on the treadmill.
Here’s how: Concentrate on each step you take – feel each one. To help with this, you can ask yourself:
Does the treadmill feel soft against your soles? Does it seem to get more slidy as you run faster? After asking these, you’ll find yourself paying close attention to the sensations of your feet while you’re running.
What about the rhythm of your legs and feet? Are they really equal? Can you see if you’re unconsciously favoring one leg over the other? If you realize you do, don’t let your thoughts wander to whether it’s because you use that foot for driving – remember you’re supposed to stay in the “now.”
Instead, quickly shift your focus to your arms and hands. If you’re holding onto the sidebars for support, ask yourself questions about them and their sensations. If you’re freely moving your arms and hands up and down in concert with your legs, ask yourself if they’re in sync. If they’re not, try to sync them – how does it feel? Is it more comfortable or is it weird?
By now, you get the picture — it’s all about immersing yourself in the sensations while running, rather than mulling over what you had for lunch or what you talked about at the meeting. By doing this, you’re exercising your “mind’s muscle” and reaping its untapped benefits!
Fill your mindless treadmill cardio with mindfulness – you have nothing to lose and lots to gain. You’ll end up smarter, more emotionally stable, deeper in love, and physically healthier too! It takes no extra time or physical effort just a shift in concentration.