The Gustavian Weekly

Mind over matter mentality improves performance | The Gustavian Weekly

By Haley Bell Staff Writer | December 5, 2014 | Sports & Fitness

In 2006, Men’s Fitness recognized Gustavus as one of the fittest college campuses in America, based off of data provided by the Princeton Review. Gusties came in sixth, and according to the Mankato Free Press, Gustavus was the only Minnesota college to make the list.

Gustavus prides itself on its hard working students, in and out of the classroom. With so many activities incorporated into a student’s life, fitness is usually a big part. Often times students involve themselves in sports, physical exercise, and many even research the fundamental aspects of health and fitness as a whole. In researching and practicing health and fitness, it has become significant to not only consider physical traits, but mental ones as well.

Almost everyone has heard the phrase ‘mind over matter,’ and in modern society it is becoming more and more significant. Research about blocking out pain, maintaining a positive attitude, overcoming obstacles and maintaining ‘mental toughness’ have become more prevalent. In an article by Huffpost Healthy Living meditation into action is a way that the mind and body can work together to develop more meaningful exercise.

By assessing exercise as more purposeful when people practice ‘mindfulness,’ Huffpost acknowledges that people can greatly improve their health and fitness by incorporating ‘awareness’ into their routine. Of course activities such as running have physical benefits, but Huffpost also addresses the idea that “the only way to ensure that you’re performing to the very best of your ability is to leave the thinking behind and allow the body and mind to work together with a combined physical and mental focus.

So why exactly is practicing mindfulness important during physical activity?

According to Body Kinetics Health Club, it’s all about performing physical activities while focusing inward to let go of distractions and “unrelated thoughts and focus your attention on your sensations, breath, and movements of your body.” The premise of such mindful behavior during a workout is said to significantly “increase the effectiveness of your workout, decrease your chances of injury, enhance your enjoyment of exercising, and support you in developing a healthy and loving relationship with your body.”

The point of practicing mindfulness during exercising is to focus on the quality of your workout, rather than the quantity. According to The Athletic Build, ‘mind over matter’ is specifically important in order to focus on your successes each day and not allowing setbacks set you back in the regimen that you will develop out of practicing good habits.

Many Gustavus students strive to develop good habits during both exercise and academics and therefore it is important that students understand how both their mental capabilities and physical activities can become two parts of a puzzle that can be put together to achieve self-improvement.

-Haley Bell