How Exercise Shapes Your Mindset
By now, it’s no secret that to get a glowing physique we need to exercise and eat right… but have you considered how that sweaty session in the gym or running hills has been shaping your mind?
With so many different types of activities out there, which one should you be doing to support the ways you want to grow mentally? Today, we are exploring 4 different movements and how they shape our daily energy and mental capacity.
As simple as some of these concepts maybe for supporting your physical and mental health, if you are not already including them regularly, then take a moment to read on and start scheduling time to make movement a priority for you again.
1. Walking for a Focused Mindset
While there is no sexy exclusive gym membership to participate in this workout, you will be surprised the effects walking as exercise has on shaping your mindset! Taking a stroll without music is an excellent form of active meditation for those who struggle to sit still. As a runner for the majority of my life, sitting for long periods was a dreaded chore. I have always enjoyed cardio heavy workouts but that was until I broke my collar bone this past winter.
When you break your collarbone, you are pretty limited in what you can physically do. Instead of focusing on what was no longer an option to do, I choose to focus on what I could do instead. And that just so happened to be a LOT of walking! Now, I have walked before and thought it was quite nice but during this period, I walked everywhere and very frequently throughout the day. I walked while talking on the phone, I walked to and from work, I walked to get lunch, I walked to kill time because quite frankly, I was bored without all my usual adrenaline junkie activities to entertain me!
What was wild was the change it had on my ability to focus for prolonged periods of time. Before, I felt I could focus intensely for spurts, but after walking for all time time throughout the day, I found I could focus much longer on a task. The need to fidget decreased and I could sit and read for as long as desired.
A reason for this may be due to the increase in the supply of blood to the brain from walking regularly. Researchers out of New Mexico Highlands University found that “the foot’s impact during walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that significantly modify and can increase the supply of blood to the brain.” Regardless of your age, try building walking regularly into your day and enjoy the boost in your energy, metabolism, and focus!
2. Strength to Power Up the Body
Recently, Personal Trainer Jordan Scholato, CSCS and I had a chat on Instagram Live where we talked about workouts to wake up the body in the morning. Many of the movements we focused on were with body weight or bands paired with breath work. There is a lot to be said about how you can channel your energy and charge up the body by pairing the two together. See the conversation here.
Strength training builds up the muscles and supports the body. By switching up your exercise routines, you are keeping the body on its toes and not over working specific muscle groups. For ideal body composition to support functional movement, it is recommended to do 2-3 sessions 1-2 days apart. I find strength training to be a great way to tighten up the body and a superb exercise to shape the mindset. Doing it first thing in the morning helps to increase energy, healthy intentions and cognitive function for the day.
3. HIIT Workouts for a Structured Mindset
If you have ever performed a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout you likely remember there being a lot of structure and timing built into it. If you have been struggling to have good structure in your personal life and boost your energy, commit to 1 month of HIIT workouts with a trainer to get you started. There is a saying that “how you do one things is how you do everything.” Why not get back on track with your health and lifestyle with a well structured sweat?
By committing to a program with a trainer, you are also committing to yourself to make a change. And let’s be honest, health is not rocket science, but it is behavioral science! Learn to hack your habits and mind by using different forms of exercise and commitment to do so! Various HIIT workout programs include the Sweat App(my personal fav!), F45, Orange Theory, Kick Boxing, and running intervals on the track.
4. Long Slow Distance (LSD) for Creativity
Unfortunately, I can’t recommend you go out and try LSD as some festival hippies may think of it… but, I can highly recommend going for a long walk, bike ride, or run outside! Long slow distance training (LSD as we call it in the running world) is a sustained effort endurance workout. You should be able to sustain this effort at conversational pace for 90 minutes. You will need to build up to this level of workout but it is something to strive for!
When you perform an uninterrupted LSD workout on your own, without music, other people or checking your phone, you allow for a significant amount of creative space. Without the daily demands of people or technology for your attention, you are left to be with your thoughts for a prolonged period. At some point, you’ll may zone out and come back into focus. That is the beauty of this, as is it will allow for your subliminal thoughts, ideas, or musings to bubble up to surface.
This can be a superb time to problem solve or think through creative concepts you have been turning over be it for career, life, or connections. I highly recommend having a journal near by when you finish up one of these longer exercise pieces.
Exercise Shapes Your Mindset
Regardless of the type of workout you do, pick something that lights you up and gets you excited to get moving! Be it walking with a friend, surfing big waves or trying your first group exercise class. Do what feels best for you and of course, exercise within your own ability. If it hurts or really just doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Work with a trainer to make sure you are doing new movements correctly as well. I hope you found these suggestions on how exercise shapes your mindset helpful and gets you ready to move more! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or email me. Have a great sweat!