Should You Do Mind/Body Exercise?

I’m writing this as I sit in a Pilates studio. It’s what I do for a living—teach Pilates—and I love, love, love the work. I’m addicted to it, really. If something happens and I go a week without, my whole body starts to kink up and I get rather cranky. But I’m not like everybody (I write a fitness blog) so I understand that a lot of people have never tried any form of mind/body exercise.

It can seem a little hokey from the outside looking in. Plinky-plink music, soft-spoken voices, woo-woo types stretching languidly. It can’t possibly be useful for the average person, right?

You should try it

Here’s why you should try mind/body movements—anything from yoga to Pilates to tai chi (the big three): you will move your body in ways that your muscles aren’t used to, and you’ll feel so much better when you’re done.

You know that moment when you crash on the couch after a hard day’s work and you’re satisfied and happy and a big ol’ “Aaaah …” escapes your lips? That’s what it feels like right after a mind/body class. The only difference is the next day you’ll notice your butt is a little tighter and your arms a little more sleek.

First, do this

The cheapest, easiest way to start is to search online or through your cable TV provider. There are many options out there on the web or via OnDemand shows for good instructors with good cueing to give you brief ten- to 20-minute workouts. You could incorporate it onto the end of a workout you already do, or you could add it to your morning or evening routine as a way to transition from one part of the day to another.

If you get serious

After you’ve dabbled for a bit, if you’re really enjoying yourself then go and seek professional help. Take a yoga class at a studio or a Pilates mat class at a gym or join a tai chi class. These will cost you a bit, in the neighborhood of US$15 to $25 per class (or free if it’s part of your gym membership), but a good instructor will keep you safe, challenge your body, and push you a little harder than you would have pushed yourself. It’s totally worth the price you pay for the peace of mind and the sculpted body you’ll start to see.

For the hard bodies

For those of you who want the Adonis look, it is possible with mind/body disciplines. You should see the men and women sashaying out of my studio daily: no one thinks that these folks are wusses! That, plus I’d guess 50% of Hollywood does Pilates as part of their fitness regimen. It’s one of the go-to workouts for stars because it works so darned well.

Mind/body movement can be all you do for fitness or it can be part of a blend of different types of exercise depending on your preferences. At a minimum, the cross-training effect will help ward off injury and the Zen moments will help you combat daily stress. So dip your toe in the water and see how it feels. We’re a friendly lot, even though we are a little woo-woo.

Have you tried any mind/body exercise? Tell us about it!

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson runs her own successful fitness blog at Lisa Johnson Fitness and is frequently seen hanging around Twitter @LisaJohnson. She also runs a few Pilates studios, Modern Pilates Boston.

Comments

  1. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately – I definitely need to quiet my mind LOL. We did a Yoga Class w Kia at #FHBC11 and although it was out of my comfort zone, I was so relaxed at the end. TY Lisa!

  2. Great article! I recently participate in four Tai Chi classes. You’re certainly right that Tai Chi leaves your body feeling rejuvenated.

  3. I did yoga when I was working through p90X and it was the only things I couldn’t finish!

  4. Pretty interesting article..

    I totally agree that body and mind should be well organized and trained.

  5. I think any exercise has a mind/body connection no matter how hard core it is. But, by focusing once or twice a week on exercise that tries to tap into “the flow” you’ll really notice a difference in your stress levels. It’s so worth it.

    Cheers,

    Lisa

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