Our body is our vessel that carries us through our life to our desired destination. Using nutrition and regular exercise we can ensure we preserve and care for this vessel so we can be resilient facing life’s various storms that come our way including the challengers of aging. Combining what we are learning about mindfulness with exercise helps us to maximize our opportunities to improve our health and experience more happiness each day.
Working out increases the blood flow to the brain which is highly beneficial and very important. Increased blood flow provides more oxygen and consequently improves performance. Secondly, exercises improve the general mood disposition of a person. When one is a good mood throughout the day, your performance is bound to improve due to improved interpersonal relationships. Lastly, it helps in relaxation, consequently improving one’s productivity.
So add one tiny new exercise habit today. Get up from the desk or couch and walk outside down the block and back. Get your feet moving and breathe in some fresh air and if possible get some vitamin D by being in the sunshine. Keep moving! Even raising your hands up in the air in reps of 10 breathing in and out each time forcing air into your longs and getting your heart rate up helps the brain and body work better together.
TAKE A WALK
When studying, one’s concentration span reduces quickly after a period of time. As concentration decreases, performance also decreases. To boost performance, take a break and walk. Stretch your legs. This increases blood flow to the brain and the rest of the body. It also helps the mind top relax and hence boosting memory. Therefore, always set a timer to alert you when to take a walk in between your studying period. Even walking back and forth in the office, classroom or your home can give you a break and healthy change of focus enough to refresh your brain. See, those water fountain breaks at work are not hurting your productivity after all!
MAKE IT A MINDFUL WALK
We discussed the Mindhack of practicing mindfulness using meditation and mindful eating in previous Mindhacks. We can also practice mindfulness by learning to place our attention where we decide to as we take each step when out on our daily walk. Let yourself feel the pressure of your foot as it hits the floor with each step. Then return your attention to your breathing in and out as you walk step by step. Notice how your arms move by your side as you stride in your walk. Then gently return your attention to your breath by reminding yourself “back to the breath” and continue walking. If you hear a siren from an emergency vehicle take note of that and how it makes you feel. Does your heart begin to beat quicker? Do you think of your own health? Then gently return your attention to your breathing in and out as you walk. As thoughts come to your mind, emotions come up or people walk by really notice them in a conscious way the way an artist studies their subject they are painting. Then again return your attention to your breathing taking you back to the present moment.
This back and forth attention focus process while walking helps build a muscle habit of mindfulness and awareness so you can be aware of when your mind is drifting and doing so be able to choose your focus in life. Remember if we are not choosing our focus often others are doing so for us forcing us into a position of having to react to live rather than living it by choice.