How To Reduce The Heightened State Of Stress Before Exercises.
To fully benefit from mindful movement, it’s important to bring your body to a state of calm before you even begin your run or any other physical exercise.
Most of us run between other activities on an already hectic day, meaning that before you even get started on your mindful run, you’re already in a state of stress. This could be from work, an argument, a stressful family situation or just a really busy day.
Spend a few moments getting in touch with your breath before you get started to help you stay focused while you are running.
Breath is one of the most effective ways to ground you as the very act of breathing is centred on the present.
Reducing Stress Before Physical Activity.
To help follow this exercise to warm up with belly breathing and body scan; you can stand, sit or lie down, close your eyes or keep them open. The choice is yours.
- Relax the muscles in your feet, calves, thighs, and hips.
- Let go of tension in your stomach and chest.
- Now try to relax your back, shoulders, and neck.
- Lastly, bring attention to your jaw and face and release any strain.
- Place one hand on your belly, just below your ribcage, and the other hand on your chest to ensure that your belly, not your chest, inflates with air.
- Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose to the count of five. Feel your breath enter your nose and flow down into your lungs and then your belly.
- The belly should rise with each inhale, while the chest stays relatively still. If you need an example, observe how a young child naturally breathes. It may take some practice to train your body to recruit belly breathing because many adults are in the habit of chronically contracting the belly and taking more shallow breaths from the chest.
- Be sure to fully inflate your lungs, feeling your ribcage and belly expand and your spine lengthen. You will know if you are taking a deep enough breath if you can see the hand on your belly rise and fall with each inhalation and exhalation.
- After taking in that breath, pause for a second or two.
- Purse your lips and exhale through your mouth to the count of eight. Feel your breath leave your belly first and then your lungs. Don’t force the air out, just let it slowly escape as you relax your belly and chest.
- Focus your mind on being totally present with each breath.
- If it wanders, just bring it back without judgement.
It doesn’t matter how long this takes, 5 or 10 minutes, just take the time you need to prepare.
Remember some days it may take longer, and that’s OK, this just means that your mind and body need a little extra time.