~ Photo by David Goddard ~
I am seeing a shift in healthcare strategy & athletic performance programming, and the shift is in all of our minds.
Yesterday, while going through the checkout line of the grocery store, I noticed the latest special edition of TIME magazine. In all caps the title reads, MINDFULNESS. It caught my attention because just the other day I was thinking about the fact that even though I have improved my running ability and athletic performance for seven straight years, my overall health has fluctuated from gold standards to rock bottom and everywhere in between. So what's been missing during those times where my health was suffering even though I was seemingly doing all the right things with all the right people, places, and things around me? It dawned on me before I even opened the magazine. The one thing I was not doing during those times compared to when my health was complete, and I was truly content regardless of who or what was around me, was nourishming my mind. Introspection. Now, more than ever before, science is researching just how powerful our conscious thoughts are on our health and athletic performance, and I want to understand more about how and why mindfulness makes such a powerful impact on my life. I grabbed the magazine without evening looking at the price.
For me, this magazine comes at a great time. Mindfulness has been on my mind for several months now. In January I began leading a peer support group for a local rehabilitation center. My name for the class was Primal & Positive Movement, and I highlighted the importance of natural movements patterns and mindful thinking. For several of the classes, I showed the group videos of Wim Hof, a man whose grassroots following has taken him from being considered just a "dare devil" record holder to one of the most influential people in health science today! Google him, and go down the rabbit hole. You won't be disappointed. His methods of mindfulness involve controlled hyperventilation and progressive cold exposure. Between the alkalinity response from focused breathing and vasoconstriction response to surviving the cold, Wim says"inward" you will go.
For me and many other people, a stimulus or multiple stimuli are need to help attain mindfulness. For Wim, it was the exposure to cold and deep breathing. For me it has on and off been running. So after reading through TIME's MINDFULNESS, and self experimenting with the Wim Hof method, as well as, understanding how running can help me become more mindful, I want to start a challenge for all of us. Let's begin a challenge to bring mindfulness into our run programming. Let's treat it just like we would anaerobic training or aerobic training. I believe if this done frequently, not only will people's running ability and training performance improve, their health will too.
Let's start programming this challenge for our members to take:
- 1 Beginner Wim Hof Breathing Session - Here
- 1 Mile Run on the TRUEFORM or outside focusing purely on relaxing breathing
- 5 Minutes sit or lay down on the ground in the most comfortable position, close your eyes, and be mindful. Think about what you're grateful for, such as family and friends, or having the chance to meditate.
The one mile run on the TRUEFORM or outside needs to be done at the pace that FEELS the best. It is not about your finishing time or speed. This run is purely for your mind. For people who have never run on a TRUEFORM before they complete the challenge, be sure to let them walk and jog on it until they are comfortable.
Post pictures and video of the challenge with the hashtag #TheMindfulMileChallenge