Ready to sweat in silence? Put these tips into action and you'll get even more from your workout while keeping yourself entertained.
Tap Into Your Breath
Whether you're running, biking, or walking, try matching your inhalations and exhalations with what your feet are doing. For instance, while running, inhale over four footfalls (right, left, right, left) and exhale for the same length.
"Counting will keep your mind occupied but not distracted," says Stan Beecham, Psy.D.
"At the same time, you'll be taking slower, longer, deeper breaths." This pumps oxygen into your bloodstream, which feeds your muscles and boosts endurance.
Do Fartleks (Swedish for "Speed Play")
"This is the adult version of 'I'll race you to the mailbox,'_" explains Matt Fitzgerald, author of Brain Training for Runners. Here's what to do: Periodically kick up your speed from one landmark--a tree or stop sign--to another. Try sprinkling eight fartleks into a 45-minute workout. "The hard work of sprinting won't feel as difficult because the end of each burst will always be in sight," says Fitzgerald.
Scan Your Body
Starting with your right foot, notice what it's doing. Is it turning in? Is it turning out? Now focus on your left foot. "The goal is for your body to be as symmetrical as possible. You want to use both sides evenly," says Fitzgerald. Work your way up your calves, knees, hips, shoulders, arms, neck, and head. Notice how your body feels. If you encounter any tension, imagine those muscles releasing.
Play Mind Games
Keep a mental list of the different out-of-state license plates that go by or count how many squirrels you see. If the urge to listen to music hits, sing to yourself. When you need to stop and cross a street, you'll have much more control over the music that's playing in your head than if you were using an iPod.
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