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A Mind-Body Connection Will Help You Slim Down

By Jack Brooks

There’s a lot of information available about getting ourselves motivated to exercise and the benefits of it in weight management. 

The obvious tips of scheduling and prioritizing regular physical activity, purposely taking stairs and parking further away from destinations, walking or biking rather than driving and other suggestions give us the concept for exercising, but sometimes we could use some help with the context.

The diverse areas of sports psychology, yoga, meditation, kinesthetics, neuropsychology, and even metaphysics offer new and exciting ways to create a holistic approach for our personal body management program.

The increasing popularity of Eastern disciplines and techniques, such as yoga, acupuncture, Homeopathy, Ayurveda and shamanism that have become so much a part of alternative medicine here in the West have helped establish the medical viewpoint that the mind has profound influence on the physical elements of who we are. So let’s take advantage of this connection for effectiveness and enjoyment as we work towards our weight management goals.

Inner Work For Outer Results

Putting together a comprehensive program requires a choice of techniques. Here’s some that’ll give us a starting point before we actually exercise: 

  • Preparatory Meditation we think of meditation as a relaxing, stress-relieving technique and indeed it is. Imagine beginning your exercise regimen with 10 or 15 minutes of quiet, focused meditation; we might call this a “Spirit Workout” used to launch you into your physical workout or walk.

  • Creative Visualization – This is simply the method of mentally seeing your body slimmer and glowing, feeling the warm sweat of the workout on your skin, and smelling the crisp Fall air as you mentally jog through the park. This positive mental energy encourages your body to produce beneficial biochemicals and in conjunction with the meditation noted above, becomes your own weight loss hypnosis program.

  • Light/Sound/Scent – new studies in the yoga community show a definite ink between external sensory stimuli and bodily responses for energy levels, muscle performance and reaction time. You can use this to your advantage by arranging your Walkman or iPod music so it gradually ups the “pace,” as well as moving from the darkened indoor meditation space to the well-lit indoor or outdoor exercise environment.
Your Exercise Mindset

There’s an area of psychology concerned specifically with the “exercise and brain” relationship. New research conducted at many schools and athletic facilities has revealed these key concepts:

cartoon obese man on scales
  • Don’t be a dropout - be sure to accurately gauge the space and pace of exercise to match your environment and mindset. This is important to keep you exercising; you can use heart-rate monitors, stopwatches, pedometers and accurate scales as good exercise progress indicators.

  • Give yourself a healthy reward - rather than a gooey ice cream Sundae after a workout or run, treat yourself to a steam or sauna, a favorite video, a healthy fruit snack, or even a nap. You doubly reward yourself through the positive act of choosing wisely and well.

  • Be realistic with your weight-loss program - leading exercise researcher Dr. Panteleimon Ekkekakis of Iowa State University notes, "It is important that people stick an exercise level that feels comfortable, rather than trying to match cultural expectations of what exercise should look like or feel like to be effective."

Your weight loss project doesn’t have to entail pain, sacrifice, and suffering. Your valuable attributes of willingness, commitment, and persistence coupled with balance, realism, and yes, excitement, will give you the power to reach your goal!





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