Mindfulness – what is it and why is it so important for our health and fitness?

Self awareness comes and goes.  We get stressed, busy or upset and just like that our awareness flies out the window, we switch to auto pilot and we forget about what we may be doing and just do stuff without thinking.  This can sometimes be unhelpful especially when it comes to exercise and eating.  So, we need to develop the mindfulness habit.

But what is “Mindfulness”?

Mindfulness means paying attention, with an attitude of openness and curiosity.  Mindfulness is about noticing what is happening in the here and now – you might notice when you are bored or tired, or when your attention is wandering or not, or how you may be exercising and your technique, or what you may be eating.

The idea of mindfulness is to let go of any distractions and/or unrelated thoughts, and focus your attention on what you may be doing in the present moment. This is because when you give something your full attention, you’re bound to do it more effectively.   Most of us are crap at being mindful because we are busy people and want to do several things at the same time to get things done, but in this case nothing gets done properly.

But I’m too busy for mindfulness!

You may ask – “but I need to multitask otherwise I will never get anything done!”   But being mindful does not mean that you cannot have multiple things on the go. Instead the trick is to keep yourself focused on exactly what you are doing at this moment in time whether you are thinking about something at work, or doing a physical activity or eating something, and everything else can be put aside for that moment in time and you can return to it later.

Why is mindfulness so important?

So, mindfulness can be applied to all aspects of our lives and is like the foundations on a house – if they are not firm, cracks will begin to appear.  If we don’t have a firm foundation of mindfulness in our lives, we’ll soon encounter problems, whether that be in terms of starting and maintaining our fitness regime, or in terms of our nutritional habits, and we’ll be quicker to fall into old unhelpful patterns of behaviour.

The hardest thing about mindfulness is that your mind will try hard to distract you and tell you mindfulness is a waste of time, especially if you are time poor.   So, in future blogs, we’ll talk about how you can easily apply mindfulness to your exercise regime and your eating habits in order to be more effective in the moment!

Stay tuned!