If you find yourself constantly stressing about tomorrow’s responsibilities and other factors in your life, mindful running may provide you some relief. Practicing mindfulness itself can already help you live a better life. Pairing it with a physical exercise such as running can help that much more.
Mindful running benefits
Running and mindfulness both have their own benefits. Putting the two together can be a potent relief for stress anxiety, clearing your mind and putting your life’s stresses aside for a short period.
Mindful running also improves your overall mental health, sharpening your memory and improving cognitive function. You may find that your creativity, motivation, and mood have been enhanced.
In addition to all of these mental and cognitive benefits, mindful running naturally has physical benefits as well. You’ll be burning calories and improving your cardiovascular health while resetting and clearing your mind.
How to prepare for mindful running
Just going out for a run and trying to ignore certain thoughts isn’t going to cut it. You should be preparing for your mindful run and getting into the right mindset before going out. Here are a few steps you should follow to get the most out of your mindful run.
- It may seem self-explanatory, but having the right pair of running shoes can make a big difference in mindful running. You want your run to be as comfortable as possible!
Run with a plan
- Create a plan or purpose for your running session. Decide how you want to feel during and after your run and guide yourself based on that decision.
Start mindful breathing
- Deep, mindful, and controlled breathing before your run will help get you in the right mindset before you go.
Switch up your route
- If you’re feeling burnt out from your normal routine, switch it up! Experiencing a new route and seeing different things can make a big difference.
Focus on your senses
- Concentrating on all five of your senses can help you stay engaged and focused on your run. It can help prevent any stray thoughts from entering your mind and ruining your run.
Remaining mindful during your run
Staying mindful and in the present moment during your run can be difficult. Thoughts that you were trying to keep out of your head may creep back in if you allow them to. Follow these following steps to help yourself stay focused on your run.
- Start slow – Let your body get into a rhythm, don’t try to start off too fast. Increase your speed over time to let your body get adjusted.
- Look at your feet – Focus on your feet hitting the ground with every step, keeping yourself in the present.
- Take in your surroundings – Look around you as you run. Appreciate the environment you find yourself in and just enjoy the journey.
- Listen to your body – If you’re experiencing any pain, stop. Don’t push yourself hard, this is supposed to be a refreshing experience.
- Focus on your breathing – Make sure that you’re inhaling and exhaling steadily. If your mind begins to wander, focus back on your breathing.
- Reflect on your run – After you’ve finished your run, take a moment to reflect on it and how you feel.
For all of these tips on mindful running and more, including the three C’s of mindful running that you should know, check out this animated infographic that pairs with this piece.