Mindful Running: What it is and How it can Help

TJ Bartel on the mental health benefits of what is known as 'mindful running!'

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Many people turn to exercise to clear their minds and let go of the daily stresses they may experience. Running outdoors, specifically, is a great way for one to escape reality for a brief moment in time and enjoy the sights and smells that surround you. Nature itself tends to be an effective stress reliever. Embracing the outdoors and clearing your mind is what’s commonly known as mindful running.

In order to reap the benefits of both meditation and exercise, those new to the idea of mindful running should take a few things into consideration:

  • First, make sure to pay attention to the beauty around you. Take out the overbearing aspect that comes with wearing fitness trackers or paying attention to tracking apps and enjoy the world for what it is.
  • Second, be aware of your body. Any physical discomfort you may feel can be looked at in a more productive way, according to fitness coach and journalist Mackenzie L. Havey. Rather than dwelling on why you weren’t able to run longer, appreciate the fact that you are running at all!
  • Finally, be aware of your mind. Much like tuning out and forgetting daily stresses, paying attention to your mindset and making sure you don’t lapse back into those negative thoughts is just as important as monitoring your physical wellness.

People can harness mindful running for a variety of reasons. Stress relief is certainly one, but many others may use this for coping with tragedy or grief, or simply bettering their overall mental health. Additives that can improve these experiences include music, long podcasts, or general meditative sounds for those that would rather focus on their natural surroundings.

It’s easy to assume that mindful running takes away from one’s fitness goals given that you are paying attention to yourself rather than the logistics of running. However, this has been shown to actually boost physical fitness while also improving mental health. This is due to the fact that mindfulness allows us to run with better form and thus, help us enjoy running much more.

Guided running can help you feel more relaxed while also boosting your confidence, teaching you to overcome mental obstacles that may be instilled from work or personal stresses. This is a great outlet for anyone overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, or general negativity.

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