7 Mind-Body Exercises That Promote Your Wellness

 

Did you realize that there are exercises that engage both your mind and body and these work together to promote your overall wellness? Your thoughts can influence the physical responses of your body. You can use these exercises to relieve stress, pain, anxiety, and improve your immune system and sleep patterns.

Yoga

This ancient discipline is perhaps the most well-known mind-body exercise. It effectively connects the spirit, mind, and body through a series of poses that require both flexibility, meditation, and concentration.

Consistently practicing yoga will improve your circulation, improve your bodily functions, boost the immune system and circulation, and also balance your metabolism. It allows for chronic pain to be controlled as each muscle group is worked in every direction. Yoga is truly an overall body workout. It is also precise, yet gentle, and can be undertaken at any fitness level.

Tai Chi

This ancient Chinese martial art grew from the Taoist philosophy. It places its value on reflection and serenity. Today’s practice combines meditation, dance, and exercise. You may have seen groups of people practicing this outdoors led by a teacher.

The moves are low-impact, slow, and balanced and are completed in sequences that are known as forms. The moves have been taken from the animal kingdom and each move comes with a precise shifting of body weight, controlled breathing, and requires concentration.

It increases brain volume and has been shown to improve learning and memory (Mortimer, et al, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3788823/). Additionally, it can reduce the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Of course, the forms also improve coordination, thus providing better balance.

Qigong

This is a healing practice and requires different movements. It is similar to Tai Chi in that they both use slow movements; however, they are not the same movements. Qigong includes rubbings hands, ears, and feet, as well as moving the head around and moving arms up and down. The postures are simple; however, they are precise.

Muscle Relaxation

This involves specific muscle groups being tensed and relaxed in sequence until you have completed the entire body. You should tighten a muscle group for around ten seconds and release while noticing how it feels now that you have done so.

You should start at the feet and then work right up through to your scalp. This engages the mind as well as the body because your mind is controlling your actions.

Weight Training

Yes, seriously. While not officially named mind body exercise, weight training most certainly engages and benefits the mind.

Weight training builds muscle while boosting your brain cells. As you lift concentrate on how your muscles feel as they tighten and relax through your reps. This can relieve stress and anxiety and of course, boost your strength.

Weight training requires strength, concentration, and visualization that helps regenerate brain cells, all while boosting your physical condition.

Relaxation Breathing

The power of the mind can guide your breathing. It allows you to adjust your breathing rate from unhelpful shallow breathing to deep, thoughtful abdominal breaths. Mindful breathing is one of the most effective ways to manage your stress as it crops up.

You can practice it anywhere and take back control of your emotions. Imagine there is a balloon in your abdomen, your breaths need to fill it so you can concentrate on that action. When you breathe now where do you feel or see the action?

Most likely in your chest, but it should be the abdomen you see rising and falling. With every abdominal breath, you will start to feel less panic and more relaxed.

Walking

Yes, something as simple as walking can be a mind-body exercise if you can let go of your worries and focus on visualizations as you walk. Walking, of course, is a known health benefit. So, if you’re already a walker add some soothing music that you find both inspiring and uplifting. As you walk focus in on the music, you’re listening to and concentrate on your breathing and your stride.  

 

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