People often think of working out in terms of weight loss and other physical outcomes. However, the psychological effects of working out are also profound, which is one of the reasons why Zen workouts are so popular. Read on for three zen workout tips aimed at amplifying stress reduction while simultaneously enhancing your results.
Top 3 Zen Workout Tips to Help Maximize Your Fitness Routine
1. Breathe better.
Just because breathing is an involuntary body function doesn’t mean you can’t improve your breathing by focusing on it. In fact, proper breathing techniques can help you stay calm and can also improve your workout across everything from strength training and aerobic exercise, to yoga and stretching. On the other hand, holding your breath and/or not breathing properly can cause you to run out of energy sooner and can also result in shortness of breath, dizziness, and other detrimental impacts.
The benefits of better breathing don’t end at the gym. As Perfect Breathing co-author Al Lee told the American Council on Exercise,
“Whether you’re a casual gym-goer, a mall walker, a mountain biker, an actor, singer, or dancer, putting your breath at the core of your discipline will help you achieve far more than you ever thought….By learning to control your breathing, by understanding how the respiratory system is integrated with your body, by using conscious breathing in all your pursuits, you will improve nearly every aspect of your life.”
Not sure what breathing techniques are best? Speak to a personal trainer from Brick Bodies who can work with you to implement proper breathing methods.
2. Manage your mindset.
This is one of the most important zen workout tips to follow. Attitude is everything. If you think of going to the gym as a chore or as drudgery, can you really expect to get the most out of your workout? Conversely, focusing on the many things in life for which you’re grateful, including a healthy, able body and a variety of opportunities to improve on it, can help you maximize your fitness routine.
Maintaining a positive mindset can be particularly challenging if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Because of this, experts tout the value of meditation for quieting the mind. Even just five to ten minutes a day can help you check in with yourself and your intentions in order to stay focused on your fitness goals. Research has even linked mindful meditation with everything from self-healing to healthy immune systems.
3. Give yourself a break.
Zen is all about finding the balance in life. However, many people lose sight of this, particularly when just starting out on their fitness journeys. Unfortunately, this can lead to everything from burnout to injuries.
Taking a day off every now and then can help you restore balance in your life. Remember, health isn’t just about physical aspects. Taking a day off from working out to do something else you love serves your mental and physical health, as well.
Want a related tip? Laugh. You’ve heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine.” As it turns out, laughter and meditation have a lot in common. Conclude researchers at Loma Linda University as reported by Huffington Post, who discovered that joyful laughter and meditation exhibit similar brain wave frequencies when engaging in these two activities, “We suggest HAML [humor associated mirthful laughter] may be another non-pharmacological lifestyle intervention to provide health, wellness [and] adjunctive therapeutic benefits.”
One last thing to keep in mind? Zen fitness aims to help participants build strength and flexibility while bringing the body into balance. However, the time you spend in the gym is only part of the big picture. A holistic approach to health, incorporating eating right and getting enough sleep, is also essential. These things are all inextricably interlinked. The more they are aligned, the more fulfilling your workouts will be.