5 Ways to Connect Body & Mind on the Run

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Why do you run?

Maybe it’s to get out of your head. I think a lot — so sometimes it’s nice to just not think so much. Not thinking as much while running can be a form of meditation — which is just one reason that running can leave us feeling so darn good.

Maybe you are chasing that runner’s high (again, trying to feel better than when you started). 

An even better goal is to get into the flow state. You know the flow state — when everything just seems to flow easily. It’s not just for athletes, either! Performers, crafters — anything you enjoy doing that makes you lose track of time is basically the flow state (sometimes referred to as in the zone).

Overthinking things keeps the flow state away. Concentrating only on how your body feels might also keep it away — you start thinking that this feels hard, or you distract yourself with thoughts of what you’re going to eat after your run. 

Connecting your body and mind allows you to stay present. Thinking about the future can feel pleasant, but in the end, you’re not there. You’re losing the pleasure you could get in this moment.

Right here, right now

Ruminating about the past — that fight you had with your friend or kids, the things you didn’t get done — that’s also going to rob your from the pleasure you could get, right here, right now.

bfitfivefriday

I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday. Today I’m sharing 5 ways you can use running to connect your body and mind and hopefully find joy on the run.

1: Notice your breath
This is probably the easiest way to connect mind and body. When you bring your attention to your breath, your breathing will naturally slow down — although maybe not so much on the run! When your breathing is slower, your thoughts will also slow down. You can even try to take your attention to where you feel your breath in your body (nose, chest, belly?).

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2: Yoga Warmup
Taking the time to practice some Yoga before you start your run will not only help you warm up your body, it will also help connect your body to your mind.

3: Practice a Body Scan
Start at your feet and work your way all the way up to your head. Where can you relax, even just 10%? Muscle tension means you’re using up some of your precious energy that would be better spent propelling your run.

4: Sigh
I read an article about how sighing can help you to connect body and mind, and unfortunately I didn’t save it and haven’t been able to find it again. However I came across an interesting post (click here to read it) that talks about the mental and physical effects of sighing.

Sighing allows an extra burst of oxygen to enter our lungs, which leads to improved blood flow, feelings of relaxation, and lowered levels of stress.

Feeling stressed out by your run? Try a sigh and just let it all go!

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5: Run outside and look around!
It’s so easy to develop tunnel vision while running, especially if it’s a hard workout. When you spend some time noticing the sky, trees, flowers, other people out there, animals — you are taking some of the effort out of your run. While you’re at it, why not concentrate on the rest of your senses:

  • What do you smell?
  • What do you taste?
  • What do you feel touching your body?
  • What do you hear?

Final Thoughts
You probably do use running as a moving meditation sometimes, without ever calling it that. It’s okay to get lost in our thoughts, maybe even better sometimes to turn our mind off completely (well, maybe not completely so you get lost!), but I think you’ll reap even more benefits from your runs when your mind and body are connected.

Connecting body and mind is a skill, and like any skill, it becomes easier with practice. Remember, it’s not about how often you fail, it’s about how often you try again!

Do you use running to tune out or tune in?

Do you ever think about your mind body connection?

What makes a run great for you?

5 Things in Life Lately

My mother had surgery 2 weeks ago, for those that don’t know. She is 88 years old. The surgery was necessary, and was only supposed to be an overnight in the hospital and a week of recovery.

Yeah, not so much.

Let’s just say the past couple of weeks have required me to spend a lot of time at my parents, which is 90 miles away from me, which required Mr. Judy to take some extra vacation time and work from home so he could take care of our furkids. There has been very little sleep, a ton of stress, and hopefully the final realization from my mother that they can no longer live in the house I grew up in.

So I’m going a little rogue this Friday with the Friday Five  from Cynthia from You Signed Up for What?, Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run,  and just sharing five thoughts about the last couple of weeks.

In case you missed it, because I never had time to actually link it up with the Wednesday Word linkup, I also posted about the plethora of benefits I get from running this week.

A thoughtful gesture

Mr. Judy is a keeper
I’ve kept him for almost 31 years so far; I guess I’ll keep him around a while. He sent my mom flowers (without me asking him to), and they definitely perked her up.
I came home to the bouquet of roses (already in the vase!) yesterday afternoon, and he cooked me dinner.

But I expected to come home to Bandit sleeping in our bed
I know Mr. Judy pretty well. I am the disciplinarian in the family. He is the softie. All of our dogs have been rescues, and all of them have slept in their crate their first year with us. I’ve written a lot about how important crate training is in the early days with Bandit.

My reasoning is this: even with a well adjusted dog, you just never know when they may have to spend some time in a crate. If they are familiar with it, if you make it a good experience, then if that day comes, they won’t freak out.

Bandit has come a long way, but two months is not long enough.

My husband told me he was laying on our chaise downstairs with Lola, and had Bandit on the bed on the floor. No problem. I seriously expected to come home and find out they’d all been sleeping together in the bed, and Mr. Judy confessed he thought about it — probably knew I’d kill him if he did it!

Have I hit bottom yet?
Seriously, every time I think things can’t get any worse, they do. I haven’t slept well in like a million years. I was confined to my parents house until the aid come because both my parents are at risk to fall. Indeed, my father did fall once while I was there; no one is quite sure what happened, despite there being 5 adults in various parts of the house, no one saw it happen and my dad wasn’t really clear on what happened.

Thankfully it wasn’t serious.

In addition to all that, I screwed up big time. I was giving my mom one of her meds every other day. I thought I was so careful: I drew up a chart, Mr. Judy created an even better one the weekend I was home, I double checked it with the discharge papers from the hospital and the pill bottles.

She was supposed to get it daily.

So my mom fell again that weekend I was gone, totally freaking out my sister, who thought she was screwing up.

Strengthening my lower legs

Shin Tekk
If you don’t follow me on Instagram, you didn’t see my photo of the Shin Tekk (not an affiliate link). They approached me about reviewing the Shin Tekk. I’ve only been using it a couple of weeks, and I am not ready to review it yet, but I must say my ankle seems to be normal again.

I also can’t say that it’s because of the Shin Tekk yet, but it definitely seems to have made a big difference.

I was provided with the Shin Tekk free for review purposes, but I am not associated with the company.

Running is my therapy — even the bad runs!

#runningismytherapy
I’ve been using this hashtag a lot lately. It’s soooo true. It’s been very challenging to get my runs in in the last few weeks, and even when I do, even when they’re miserable (and a few have been), I feel so much better afterwards.

I don’t know what the future holds, although I know for certain that there will be a lot more trips to my folks, and a lot of time trying to find the right situation for them going forward.

Talk to me. Leave a comment or answer a question:

What gadget really helps prevent/heal injury for you?

How do you destress, besides running?

What was the last sweet thing your partner did for you?