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A mindful approach to health and fitness

January 25th, 2017 | Lifestyle

Clinical Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner, Terrence the Teacher recognises the human mind, body and spirit’s extraordinary capacity for change and growth. Here he discusses mindfulness and the positive impact it can have on weight or fitness goals, with just a few simple techniques.

We are living in times where the mind/body connection is understood and appreciated by many and this creates the opportunity to see if mindfulness could be a positive tool in your health and fitness regime.

Mindfulness has become very popular, but what is it all about? It is a technique teaching people to return to the present moment again and again. To remain ‘non-judgmentally’ present can achieve great results. Some people recognise this as Meditation, Mindfulness or Mindful living but whatever you identify it as, the benefits are extensive. Reinforced by medicine and science, Mindfulness is here to stay. MRI scans show physical changes to the brains of people that practice and other benefits include:

  • Stress and anxiety reduction
  • Enhanced decision making, planning and creativity.
  • Pain management.
  • Increasing immune function.

Looking at the benefits above, it is not surprising that Lululemon announced hiring a Mindfulness Coach to be part of their management. The World class tennis player, Novak Djokovic has added a meditation coach to his player’s box, alongside his coach and physical trainers. Across the board people are recognising that along with the benefits detailed above, mindfulness can really help us towards a positive, healthy change. So where to begin?

MINDFUL EATING is something to chew on. Learn to focus on your mealtimes and create a nurturing event every time you eat. Try these three simple techniques:

  • ALWAYS SIT DOWN TO EAT, so you can focus on the meal and relax. It will have a positive effect your digestion. Keep away from electronic devices like mobile phones and laptops etc. while eating, as these just create distractions and you’ll consume mindlessly.
  • CHEW  YOUR FOOD SLOWLY.  Try to chew every mouthful at least 10 times or more. This gives the saliva time to do its work, breaking down the food in the first stage of digestion.
  • PLACE YOUR EATING UTENSILS DOWN BETWEEN EACH BITE. If it is something like a slice of toast place it down after each bite. By slowing down you give the stomach time to relay to your brain that you are full. This often decreases the amount of food being consumed, as we realise more quickly when we have had suffice.

MINDFUL EXERCISE is also a more positive experience.  Shape your ideas around manageable goal setting, expectations and realistic goals. Creating an enjoyable experience that leaves you energised, inspired and wanting to train more, will have a fantastically positive impact on your fitness regime. Approach exercise like an athlete and see EVERY DAY as a NEW opportunity and let go of yesterday without judgement.

Try these three Mindful Training tips:

  • LISTEN TO YOUR BODY EVERYDAY. Check in to how it feels and choose your training programme around that. If you had a late night go for less stressful exercises as your body is already under the strain of recovery. Do a good stretch, a relaxed, long walk or a casual swim.
  • CHECK YOUR MOOD BY CHECKING INTO YOUR BREATHING. Breath is a good indicator of mood but also anxiety and stress levels. If breath is very shallow or fast, begin with Mindfulness meditation or breathing exercises to help relaxation . Working out with very high stress levels can often do more harm than good.
  • KEEP 100% FOCUSED. Keep your thoughts on the exercises and the muscles you are working out. Science has proven that a training session performed with focus creates 20%-30% quicker results. Exercise is a great form of escapism so embrace the opportunity to clear your mind of work stress, frustrations and shopping lists!

If you are ready to add something NEW to your new year’s resolutions, I would suggest Mindfulness. It is available to you on so many platforms, with many well-known Apps, downloadable books, articles and informative blogs (like this one…!). Perhaps find a retreat, join a group or if you have time, consult a coach.

I always say that it is the human race’s ability to evolve that has made us so successful as a species. Could Mindfulness be the next step on our exciting journey?

To find out more about adopting a mindful approach to living, book a consultation with Terrence the Teacher here.