Maintaining a healthy weight is perhaps the goal for most of us. We resort to different methods to shed the extra pounds – cardio, strength training, dieting and running. Most people prefer to go for an evening run even after a stressful day as they say it makes them feel good.
Well, it is an excellent way of leaving all worries behind and disconnecting with the world. Whenever I go for a run, I just focus on the beauty of nature around me, and it calms the chaos going inside me. Does that mean running is somewhat similar to meditation? Yes, it is, and you can combine the benefits of both to have the perfect workout session. Let’s find out how.
Benefits of Running and Meditation
Both activities positively impact our health; running is a fast method of burning calories. As I mentioned earlier, it also makes you feel better as your brain releases 2 chemicals (endorphins and endocannabinoids) which boost the sensation of well-being. It also improves joint health and reduces the risk of breast cancer in women.
Meditation, on the other hand, is terrific for the body and mind. It improves focus, enhances your mental strength, reduces the risk of various diseases, and helps with easing depression and anxiety.
A combination of both these activities can lead to mindful running which benefits the body, mind, and soul. Studies have suggested that running while meditating reduces the symptoms of depression. Unarguably meditative running is beneficial, but it isn’t easy to achieve the perfect workout. Let’s talk about a few tips that will help you have a kickass running session!
Tips for Mindful Running:
Before moving to the topic, I’d like to mention a few basics since you are going for a run and need to be prepared physically as well. First things first; the correct fitness gear is essential. Buy yourself a pair of comfortable, good quality running shoes (you don’t want to cause yourself blisters). Your apparel is equally crucial; make sure you get everything made of performance fabrics, so you don’t come home drenched in sweat. Some people make the mistake of neglecting the undies. Women need the perfect sports bra, and for guys, they need the right boxers.
Since it’s the era of technology, why not put it to some use? Get yourself a fit bit to monitor the distance and calories you burned. Keep a water bottle to keep yourself hydrated.
Learn how to sync your breath with your steps
When I started running, the thought of synchronizing my breathing pattern with the steps I took seemed impossible. It turns out it wasn’t! Start with a warm-up session, practice breathing for about 5 minutes before you begin. Now start walking and gradually run while maintaining the sync. Remember to inhale and exhale via the nose through your diaphragm, not your mouth.
Building the focus
So now let’s come to the meditative part, focusing your mind. Of course, there are distractions around and within us, there may be worries haunting you and will continue to do so when you run. That is the challenge; make it a goal that you won’t let your destructive thoughts get the best of you. Silence your tensions and decide a focal point of your attention. You can either direct your mind to concentrate on the sensations you feel, the cold breeze around you, the sounds of your breathing. You can also direct your focus towards your surroundings, that’s what I do. I keep making a list of the things I see on the way, and that’s how I experience the present moment.
At times we end up stressing about not stressing, yes that does happen. People keep thinking what they are doing wrong while meditating and end up losing the essence of it. Remember the goal is to block the thoughts that disturb you and live in the present. That won’t happen if you get worried about the mistakes you make. Don’t be scared of the invasive thoughts, just tell yourself these are mind games and remind yourself of the goal. Be thankful for the moment and enjoy it.
So keep all the worries aside, put on the shoes and start running. Hopefully, you’ll have a great session after you follow the tips.
Kelly Newman is a Fitness Trainer and blogger. She loves to write about everything related to fitness and diet and wants to help people adopt a healthier lifestyle.
She works with the team behind Health Listed and does extensive research to provide people actionable health and nutrition information.
Bae is a 20-something passion blogger from Manila. She likes hoarding hobbies and trying out new stuff, blogging about her mundane adventures, and tweeting about random realizations and musings.