Mind-body fitness incorporates mental engagement with active movement and controlled breathing. This full-body approach to activity focuses on body awareness during exercise and can also include mindful meditation. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of this fitness style and ways you can add it to your current workout routine.


Mind-body fitness is a form of activity that allows the individual to see full-body benefits. When our mind is prepared for and focused on the exercise we’re completing, it can help us pay more attention to our movements. We’re more in tune with our intensity, technique, and form. More awareness lowers the risk of injury and increases the ability to experience the benefits of physical activity. Research has shown how this type of fitness can benefit overall health and disease management. Research suggests, “Incorporating approaches such as mind-body exercise with existing health promotion and cardiac rehabilitation services can improve self-efficacy and long-term adherence to healthy behaviors as well as improve personal stress management skills.” Practicing this mind-body intentionality can help us be more conscious and purposeful with our daily decisions. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9095454/)


Mind-body fitness can come in many different varieties. Yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates are great examples of mind-body practices if you’re looking to join an in-person or virtual class. If you’re unsure about starting with a class, you can begin by incorporating a few mind-body techniques into your current exercise session.

  • Controlled Breathing. Breathing mindfully during your exercise can help in many ways. It ensures that you’re not holding your breath during your workouts. Remember, muscles need oxygen too! It also allows you to gauge the intensity of your activity. Try inhaling through the nose and down into the belly and then fully exhaling. Controlled breathing can be helpful during workouts and can be used as a stress management technique beyond exercise.
  • Visualization. If you’re cycling, visualize reaching the top of the hill. If you’re running, visualize crossing the finish line. This can be a great tool that pushes you through challenging moments or negative thoughts.
  • Warm Up and Cool Down Meditations. Think about a word, phrase, or imagery while preparing for your workout. For example, choose the word “triumph”. When you think about this word, what comes to mind? How can you keep that as a focus during and after your practice? If you prefer guided meditation, then try a deep breathing exercise or progressive muscle relaxation meditation as part of your cool down.
  • Balance Training. Balance requires focus, awareness, thoughtfulness, and persistence. Incorporating balancing exercises into your exercise routine is physically and mentally beneficial.
  • Stretching. Stretching is necessary for flexibility and recovery. Try adding it to your cool-down routine and use this as a time to reflect and relax. Focus on slowing down your breathing rate while stretching as well. You can even turn on soothing music during this time to help calm and decompress.

A routine that integrates mind-body fitness can positively impact your overall health.

Always consult with your physician before starting a new exercise program.

Written by BWS Lead Health Coach- Kelly Schlather, BS, ASCM – CEP

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