Mindfulness and sport: scientific evidence in recent years has confirmed the effectiveness of mindfulness for people practising sports of all sorts, from fitness to golf, from skiing to soccer. What are exactly the major benefits that a sportsperson can enjoy from practising mindfulness on a regular basis?
Sportspeople at both amateur and competitive level know that training sessions or competitions are the main source of stress, and this can have a very negative impact on their athletic performance. Practising mindfulness on a constant basis helps to relax and to develop a more positive and mindful mental approach to hardships. (Journal of Health Psychology)
Everybody knows that the mind is crucial in sports. The finish line, one decisive score to win, the right trajectory: these are examples, among others, of situations in which distraction is not admitted at all. The practice of mindfulness helps to focus on the present moment, without distractions, keeping a clear and conscious mind so as to give one’s best.
We all know that sleeping is healthy for everybody. So, what happens to athletes who do not have enough sleep? Irritability, concentration difficulties, uncontrolled anxiety, and reduction of motor control. An interesting research study conducted by the School of Medicine and Health of the University of Wisconsin has demonstrated how athletes who practise mindfulness have a better sleep quality, find it easier to fall asleep, and, as a side result, have a stronger immune system.
An interesting study by the University of Kent has shown that mindfulness helps to control pain more effectively. The study was conducted on a panel of 20 professional athletes who had suffered serious injuries. Athletes practising mindfulness throughout the entire period of the study proved to be capable of controlling pain in a more effective manner.
Mindfulness – better when combined with breathing exercises – helps the athletes to visualise a specific target and to train their bodies to work longer hours, thus increasing endurance to fatigue. Mindfulness also helps the athletes to learn how to distance themselves from negative thoughts, to accept possible failure without undermining their self-esteem, and to overcome obstacles without losing sight of their ultimate target.
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