Your brain is the most important organ in your body and it is important that you work it out with plenty of exercises and memory games. You already knew that. But did you know that you can put your brain to work during your workout to help you make the most of it? We’re talking about how your mind affects your workout. At HiDow International we’ve talked about the way that a positive mental attitude is critical to coping with sports injuries and building healthy habits, but you can also use your mentality to influence the quality of your exercise. Here’s how.
If you’re anything like me, you think about a million things at a time and your wheels never stop turning. That’s great if you’re brainstorming, but not so much if you’re trying to focus on a single thing -- like your workout. Before your work out, it’s important to clear your head and allow yourself to get in the zone (so to speak). The goal is to clear your head of all the busy noise and start to focus on your body.
Warming up and stretching properly is crucial if you want to avoid injuries. Warming up can be aerobic or it can be dynamic to involve movements as you warm up. During your warm-up focus on your body. As you warm up, think about your breathing pattern, which muscles you are stretching, focus on the going through each motion properly and really try to connect with each muscle group as you warm up.
Now that you are warmed up and ready to get into your work out, you should be trying to visualize the muscles that you are using. Visualize each muscle as it contracts and stretches and really try to make sure that you are using the appropriate technique. This will add consistency to each rep and help you avoid injuries that come from sloppy techniques. Especially if you are lifting weights.
If you are new to working out or quite honestly don’t like doing it very much (we get it) you may try to get through each rep and set as quickly as possible. But that can lead to either ineffective exercises and even injuries that result in chronic pain.
Instead, take your time doing each set and really focus on the “negative” aspect of the motion. What this means is to focus on the down motion that resets the work out for about 3 to 5 seconds. This helps build muscle and gives you more control of the motion which prevents injuries.
For example, if you’re doing pushups, you can maximize your workout by coming back down slowly rather than letting your body weight be what brings you down.
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