It’s easy for us not to push ourselves. We dwell in the digital age where everything we want is just a few taps away on our internet-enabled device, be that all of “LOST” on Netflix or your favorite Thai-fusion dish from Seamless. And while all these technological advancements afford luxuries and privileges not prevalent everywhere, the laziness from inaction can seep into our exercise performances.
“Do I really think I can run another mile?,” you might wonder after jogging for 20 minutes. “I’m only kinda starting to struggle with my breathing but I’m not feeling the workout all that much.”
As someone guilty of thoughts like this almost every time I work out, I have struggled to find a manner to avoid this thought process. Our bodies know when enough is enough, so why am I over-thinking every breath I take when my body is fully aware it is in control?
When we work out, our bodies are distracted by the strenuous efforts we’re exerting upon them. Yet the mind wanders, paying too much attention to physical movements. Your eyes might be focused on that digital track displaying your lap progress, or perhaps they’re looking at the weight during a bench press, hoping not to buckle beneath it. Because the mind remains unexercised while the body does all of the heavy lifting, we often remove ourselves from our workouts–thus limiting the reap-able benefits.
In order to avoid mind wandering workouts that you can push through, here are five ways you can exercise both your brain and body simultaneously.
1) Learn: There’s a plethora of podcasts out there that’ll teach new techniques and wisdom about an assortment of fitness topics. One of my favorites, “Rauthenticity” offers conversation about creative professionals and their philosophies on remaining raw and authentic in a world cluttered with superficiality. For more general topics, “TED Radio Hour” has something for everyone that’ll keep you learning while pushing your body further.
2) Invest yourself: Night Vale Presents offers the eeriest shows and storylines with the greatest amount of heart and humanity (and inhumanity) to keep you engaged and exercising. At over 100 episodes now, “Welcome to Night Vale” will creep you out and grow your heart, which you can use to pump more blood for your cardio routines. If non-fiction or something realistic is more appealing, try “Reply All,” the show about the internet, or the thrilling “Homecoming” (or anything else) from Gimlet Media.
3) Binge: Your coworkers must be talking about this one: “S-Town” is 2017’s “Serial.” With an intriguing American gothic mystery as its impetus, “S-Town” provides eight episodes at varying lengths that hover around just an hour, making it an excellent reason to stay at the gym. Saying any more might spoil the story for you, but I recommend avoiding your lifting routines during this one if you’re prone to dropping items when something shocking occurs.
4) Rock out: Play your favorite tunes that’ll keep you moving and motivated. Music can even increase your performance if you know how to use it properly.
5) Meditate: Practice clearing your mind and growing your spiritual self while running or working out. The benefits of meditation will not only assist a routine by drawing concentration on breathing, but once you step foot outside the gym, you might find yourself more at ease and in tune to your life–giving you the chance to keep the good vibes rolling. New to meditation? Give Headspace a try, an app that teaches you how to meditate in smaller increments.
Whether you find a new podcast to dive into or new music to keep you moving, what matters is that you’re keeping your mind occupied to let your body do what it needs to at the gym: get stronger at its own pace without your thoughts getting in the way.