The emerging mindful movement training approach has a strong focus on creating postural awareness and improving overall kinesthesia. This foundational approach to training is a great place to start if you are just beginning your fitness journey. While many start their fitness journey ready to hit the ground running on day one – building a strong and reinforced foundation is critical to the beginning of an exercise program.
Mindful movement training is more than just a few stretches before a workout.
There are several components to creating the body awareness and core strength needed to support the body throughout the fitness journey.
A stable support structure is the best foundation to work upon. For humans, our main structural support is provided by our bones, joints, and tendons that connect to our muscles. Stability and postural awareness increase as you exercise with proper body alignment and technique. Posture is the direct link to mobility and stability as we are most stable when we maintain good posture and maximize the range of motion in our joints.1
This is a skill often taken for granted. We encounter basic balance challenges each day; i.e. walking up stairs, carrying items in each hand of different weights, etc. Integrate balance training into your workouts by performing basic exercises on a single leg or while standing on balance pads or discs. Training in this way will not only increase your overall equilibrium, but also activate multiple muscle groups, burning more calories along the way.
Active range of motion and muscular flexibility are two factors that can enhance or inhibit movement. Flexibility training is typically reserved for workout warm ups and cool downs. However, to experience the full benefits of flexibility training choose 1-2 days per week in which you focus just as much attention on lengthening the muscles as you do strengthening them. Adding a weekly yoga class to your training schedule will not only stretch and strengthen your muscles but also improve overall body awareness, balance, and stability.
Endurance is beneficial for athletes and weekend warriors alike. Whether you are playing a sport or working towards a fitness goal, lack of muscular endurance can be a limiting factor. Mindful movement exercises train the body to hold appropriate postures under loads ranging from as little as 3 lbs. up to an individual’s entire body weight. Stamina develops as a result of weekly workouts containing both muscular strength and endurance based exercises within a structured training program.
Modifying your workouts to include mindful movement exercises will establish and reinforce your anatomical training foundation. Whether you are beginning your fitness journey or a regular gym-junkie, dedicating more time to flexibility and balance exercises within your workouts can lead to an increase in both endurance and strength performance.