Mindful Exercise
Stop and Smell the Roses

I had a long day at work, and my house is a mess.

I forgot (again) to wash that stack of dirty dishes in the sink. I wanted to study a little today, and it feels like I will never have time to prep a meal. But then, I exhale, open my eyes and take in the moment. I'm standing on my sidewalk about to start my run.

It's inevitable. Humans are creatures with highly developed brains capable of solving great problems while controlling most of the activities of the body--it's a busy organ, and sometimes we're its worst enemy. Has your mind ever been so consumed by your cluttered thoughts that you blink and can't figure out how you drove to a certain location or read a chapter without seeing a single word? How about those first few miles of a run or that entire Zumba class?

It can be challenging to put aside our busy brains, our busy days, and focus on the moment--to be there not just physically, but mentally, too. Time for yourself is precious, and the time when you are doing something solely for yourself, like exercising is invaluable. So, I reached out to a friend to get some tips on how to be present for your workout before you even walk out the door, and here's what Dr. Megan Cannon, a sports psychologist, had to say:


Prep before you go

Take the time that you walk, bike or drive to your workout to get AMPED. Music is a great tool, and you can choose whatever beat, artist or genre you know will put some pep in your step. There are also tons of radio stations on Pandora or Apple Music that do the mixing for you.


Take out the trash. Mental trash, that is.

Try scribbling down all the things on your mind onto a scrap of paper and either tear it up for your satisfaction or tuck it away in your gym bag for later.


Challenge yourself.

Use your senses to take in everything around you. Are the lights bright? Do your shoes feel comfy? Is the temp nice and crisp? What's that smell? Eww.


Enjoy what you're doing

Seriously people, if you don't like to run, DON'T RUN. No one is making you. If you enjoy a particular class, teacher, work out with friends-- set yourself up for success and choose these positives for your exercise time. Like what you're on your way to do.


Take these tips out for a test run and see if they help you focus! Comment below and share your tips for being present during your workout.

Remember, it’s all about the run!




Laura Scaduto: As an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, an avid runner, and triathlete, Laura exudes a passion for wellness and loves sharing it with others. Originally from Hershey, PA, Laura now lives in Washington, DC and is an active force in the DMV running and fitness community. She works for Elevate Interval Fitness as a Social Media Manager and is a writer for RunWashington magazine. She’s currently training for one more triathlon and marathon this year.   

Photo Credit: Paul Nelson