How You Can Bring Mind-Body Awareness to Your Next Workout

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicki Anderson

Q. I know that mind-body fitness will soothe my mind, but can it really do much for my physical fitness level?

A. The International Dance and Exercise Association defines mind-body exercise as "physical exercise executed with a profound inwardly directed focus." For those of you who prefer laymen's terms, I describe it this way: Rather than just having your body involved in movement, you bring a mental awareness to your exercise sessions.

The mind-body forms of exercise increase fitness levels by working to improve muscular strength, cardiovascular health, flexibility and balance, but the difference is that there's more of an inward focus as you pay close attention to how you are feeling - from your head all the way down to your flexed toes.

It's the difference between actually experiencing the physiological changes and just simply going through the motions of an exercise class.

For too many years, the sole focus of exercise has been simply to lose weight. Therefore, the passion that goes into the exercise fizzles out once the reality of hard work settles in. By looking at your exercise program from the perspective of, "What am I getting out of this session? How do I feel?" you will find yourself in touch with the positive feelings exercise often generates. …