When it comes to exercise, we talk a lot about paying attention to what you're doing. It's important to connect with your body and your workouts, to pay attention to your form and posture to get the most out of your workouts.
It's a good idea to do that, especially during weight training where unfocused movements can lead to sloppy form and, at best, an ineffective workout or, at worst, an injury.
But, sometimes, you don't want to pay attention. After a long day or a long week, you've done nothing but pay attention and what you really need is a chance to zone out. Watching TV or mindless Internet surfing is often our first zone-out choice, but exercise is a better one. There's something about the rhythmic, mindless motion of the body that frees the mind, letting it roam where it will.
Everyone zones out differently, but, if you need a little mindlessness, there are some steps that will help you get there:
- Choose an easy cardio activity - This is any activity you can do without thinking about it. Cardio machines are a good choice here, offering nothing but mindlessness. Outdoor activities can work as well, although you do need to pay more attention to your surroundings - Traffic, potholes, other exercisers, dog poop, etc.
- Work at a comfortable intensity - The next step to zoning out is to find that pace that feels so natural, you could do it all day. It shouldn't be so easy that you're trudging along, nor should it be so hard that all you can think about is how much longer you have to workout. Keep adjusting your speed, incline or resistance until you're right in the middle, around Level 5 on this perceived exertion chart.
- Add music - Music is a great way to zone out...adding background noise can minimize distractions and keep your energy up. Motion Traxx podcasts are a great option here, offering music at different beats per minute that let you work at a solid pace without having to think about it.
- Let your mind go - You may find yourself directing your thoughts at first...what to make for dinner or how to handle that important meeting. Let your mind do its thing. Eventually, you'll find your thoughts wandering to different places, maybe even surprising places. Letting go of directing every thought is just what zoning out is all about - playtime for your mind.
What do you think? Do you ever zone out during your workouts? How do you do it and what do you get out of it? Leave a comment and tell us about zoning out during exercise.