03 Mar Mind Full? Run It Off.
From the physical to psychological, mindfulness is fast becoming the magical solution to all our health and performance problems. Studies have shown that mindfulness can reduce stress, increase focus and improve productivity in the workplace. But mindfulness doesn’t have to be all happy clappy, sitting in a circle holding hands singing kumbaya. For many of our clients the 1 or 2 hours they spend with us is the only time they take for themselves all week and it is the perfect time to incorporate some degree of mindfulness.
Running and mediation has actually been in practice for centuries from the marathon monks of Japan to the Incan messengers of Machu Picchu. But how do these two ancient practices relate and how can they help us to perform better?
1. Breathe: your breathing is one of the most important components of both meditating and running. If you are able to establish a rhythmical slow pattern of breathing you can offset stress and increase your movement efficiency. We like to use a pattern called 6:4:10, where you inhale for 6 seconds, hold for 4 seconds and exhale for 10 seconds. We often use ‘breathe’ as a cue for our clients while performing an exercise this helps in better focus and performance.
2. Body Awareness: during most runs the first 10 minutes always seem the hardest part. By focusing on how your body feels and your technique, your run will become less painful and more efficient. You want to feel light and bouncy on your feet not feel or sound like an elephant stomping down the street. You should also feel like a piece of string is attached to the top of your head pulling you to the sky so your body feels lengthened. We often ask clients how a certain exercise feels or where they feel the exercise working, in order to establish a better brain/body connection.
3. Use A Mantra: running can be tough but having a key phrase or mantra can help you overcome just about any obstacle. Using a positive cue can often be enough to give you the strength to continue and try a little harder. Even mantra’s like ‘look up’ can help you become more aware and grateful of your surroundings. One of my clients uses the mantra ‘light weight’ which he says to himself before before lifting a heavy weight.
These principles aren’t just restricted to running but can be incorporated into any type of physical activity you may do. These three techniques don’t require any type of equipment and take very little time making them the perfect remedy to help you declutter a busy mind and increase your physical and mental performance.