Mindfulness is known for its endless use cases, and an interesting one that’s rarely explored is its usefulness in sports. Here are 5 mindfulness exercises for athletes and how they help.
Mindfulness for athletes
Mindfulness might not seem like the most intuitive exercise for athletes. After all, mindfulness is associated with being calm and peaceful. Sports, on the other hand, tend to be fast-paced and stressful. What could the two possibly have in common? Well, they both require an intense amount of discipline. And mindfulness could benefit your sports life tremendously. The discipline that you need to practice mindfulness can be applied to sports, making you a better athlete. Mindfulness makes you calmer, more rational, and more objective — qualities that any great athlete should have. And mindfulness improves both physical as well as emotional well-being, an essential in sports.
5 mindful exercises for athletes
With that being said, let’s explore the top 5 mindfulness exercises for athletes.
#1 Deep breathing exercises
Deep breathing exercises are a great tool to help you control your stress. These exercises often require you to take a deep breath in and out, while clearing your mind and focusing solely on your breath. The beauty of this technique is that it’s a great source of calm — which is especially important for competitive athletes. In fact, deep breathing exercises can be used way beyond sports. These are helpful in any form of high-stress situation where you need to calm your nerves.
#2 Daily journaling
Journaling is a mindfulness tool that helps you objectively process what happens in your day. It is a document of your thoughts in a rational manner and encourages genuine reflection. For athletes, journaling is the bridge between your physical and emotional being. How do you feel about the sports you’ve been pursuing? What can you improve? What do you like and dislike? Consider these reflections and use them to become better.
Yoga is an overlooked mindfulness tool. It’s so much more than an activity for moms or Instagram teens. Yoga, in fact, is a great mindfulness exercise that brings both physical and emotional perks. Emotionally, yoga helps you recent recenter your focus and become calmer. Physically, yoga encourages flexibility and muscle relaxation. This is particularly important for athletes – whether you play something professionally or go for the occasional run.
#4 Meditation walks
Meditation walks combine the benefits of meditation with a new physical activity. Meditation itself brings you greater peace of mind and a better sense of calm. Walking during meditation introduces you to an environment that stimulates your senses gently while improving your physical health. You can even use this as a warmup before your workouts.
#5 1-minute meditations
1-minute meditations are a category on their own because these short yet effective sessions are immensely useful. 1-minute meditations require discipline and focus but go a long way in giving you a better state of mind. This is a great tool that you can use to get focused before your workouts and perform the best that you can. All you need is a mindfulness timer, like a Timeqube, and you’ll be ready to go.