Mental and Physical Fitness and the Mind-Body Connection

Mental and Physical Fitness and the Mind-Body Connection

If you’ve just completed a full-body workout  with a certified physical trainer/life coach, you might assume that just working your muscles, heart, and lungs is enough. But training is much more than a physical activity. In fact, the “Phys. Ed.” you learned in high school is a misnomer. The name should be changed to “Mental/Phys. Ed.” Simply said, it’s impossible to separate the two. 

According to a recent report by  Sportskeeda , the body-mind connection is a powerful phenomenon that’s said to influence your physical performance plus your overall well-being. When you engage in mental focus while harnessing the body-mind connection, you can optimize your physical performance, greatly enhance your training routines and gains, and achieve greater overall success in life. 

With this in mind (no pun), here are a few strategies you can use to improve your mental focus while improving your fitness and athletic endeavors, no matter what your age. 

The Interplay between Physical Performance and Thinking

Believe it or now, your mindset—that is, your attitudes, beliefs, and thought processes—can have a significant impact on your physical performance. It can either hinder or enhance your capabilities. 

It only makes sense that a focused mindset and positive thoughts can and will improve your motivation, resilience, and confidence during your physical training. In short, don’t be a Neg Head. 

Present-Moment Awareness and Mindfulness

By practicing mindfulness, you allow yourself to be fully present in the moment. This is said to enhance performance and concentration while reducing distractions. How does Chevy Chase put it in the popular 1980s golfing comedy, “Caddy Shack?” “Be the ball!” 

Mental Imagery and Visualization

Says Sportskeeda, visualization techniques are all about creating mental images of successfully performing a task along with its outcome. It is said to not only promote enhanced performance, but it promotes muscle memory. 

How did Arnold Schwarzenegger get to be Mr. Universe several times over? He didn’t just lift a lot of weights, he actually visualized what he wanted his body to look like, much like a sculptor visualizes a sculpture.  

Plan and Set Realistic Goals 

Clearly defining specific goals and milestones takes a plan for achieving them. It’s better not to run before you can walk. That means breaking down bigger goals into smaller, more “achievable milestones” that increase focus and motivation. 

How do you train for a marathon? By starting with a few miles during the first week, then adding more miles or 10% as you go until you can confidently run 26 miles without killing yourself. 

Be Prepared Mentally

Don’t just stretch out prior to engaging in physical activities. You need to prepare yourself mentally. You should begin your visualization even before you move a muscle. Practice deep breathing, and positive affirmation of yourself to greatly enhance your readiness and focus. 

When you see pro football players tossing the ball around on the field hours before the big game, their headphones covering their ears, they aren’t just getting loose. They are preparing themselves mentally to do battle. It takes great concentration, and great concentration takes greatpractice. 

Trust me when I say, with a dedication to bettering yourself, you will achieve all your goals not only in the gym but in life. 

--Mary Clark is a recently retired and decorated Colonel in the New York State Troopers. One of

the highest-ranking female law enforcement officials in New York State, she served for more than

three decades. Today she devotes herself to helping others achieve their life goals through a

combination of physical fitness, achieving an optimal mindset, and life balance.

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