Working out regularly can be a great natural stress reliever. The good news is, you don’t have to have a strict gym regimen to reap the benefits of exercise. Try these mindfulness exercises to give your brain a boost…

Contributor: Dr. Kristen Race

Working out is a great stress reliever and might even be a healthy escape for you, something that gives you a chance to break away from your usual routine and fully engage your body and mind in a new activity. Challenging workouts can impose a healthy kind of stress in the brain and also improve your mood. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, it’s even more important to log in that workout routine a few days a week. 

Try these mindfulness exercises to give your brain a boost:

1. Exercise for Sanity, Not a Beach Body

Having the perfect beach body isn’t always the best motivator and almost impossible to achieve for most people. Instead, focus on the mental health benefits of exercise and taking care of yourself — better health, stress reduction, and a better mood are all ‘side effects’ of a healthy lifestyle. 

2. Meet Without a Seat

Ditch the stand-up meetings and try walking meetings instead. The simple act of walking around while speaking and thinking will increase circulation to the brain and keep those creative ideas flowing.

3. Take Brain Booster Breaks

Schedule yourself a brain boosting break at least once every 90 minutes. This could be as simple as walking around the block or down the hallway. The idea is to get you out of your chair and doing something completely different. Sitting in one place and going through this same motions for several hours a day can take its toll on your body and mind. 

4. Try a Deskercise

Can’t tear yourself away from the desk for a few hours? Do a few lunges, jumping jacks, or burpees right next to your desk. This will get your heart rate up and blood circulating throughout your body — and also to your brain. It only takes a few minutes of activity to get the benefits of this mini-workout in your day.

5. Change Up Your Routine

If you suffer from a serious afternoon slump or always feel like things drag in the morning, try moving your schedule around to wake up your brain. Sometimes our mind and body get so used to routines that we fall into a rut. Try scheduling meetings later in the day so you can get your more focused tasks done first and don’t end up low on energy when you need it most. Try working out during your lunch hour instead of in the morning or after work to get your energy moving and ideas flowing.

6. Practice Mindful Listening

Take at least two minutes out of your day for your ‘mindful listening’ practice. This is easy to do and can really help build up your brain power. Many people don’t realize that exercise can be a great time to get some creative problem-solving done. Instead of distracting yourself with watching television while working out, try mindful listening instead!

Check out this quick video about how mindful listening works:

Integrating Mindfulness Into a Workout

Have you tried any of these brain-boosting exercises? Share in the comments below!

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