Don’t Like Working Out? Finding a Mind-Body Connection Can Help

Don’t Like Working Out? Finding a Mind-Body Connection Can Help

For years, research has shown the strong positive impact regular physical activity can have on your health. From improving your memory and thinking skills, to reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, and preventing and managing noncommunicable diseases like cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes, the benefits of regularly working out are wide-reaching. Some studies have even shown that people who are insufficiently active have a 20% to 30% increased risk of death compared to people who are sufficiently active. That’s a staggering and scary statistic, especially considering the fact that globally, 1 in 4 adults do not meet the global recommended levels of physical activity.

If you’re looking for ways to make exercise a more frequent part of your daily routine or lifestyle, we’ve got some great tips for you here. But what if you just hate working out? Read on, friend! This post is going to break down how finding a mind-body connection can help you reap the benefits of physical activity even if you hate working out.


The Mind-Body Connection

Thanks to lots of advancements in the health and wellness world, we now know that exercise is just as much an emotional and mental practice as it is a physical practice. Which is why workout modalities that lack a mind-body connection can leave us feeling less than motivated to return to them, while those that emphasize a mind-body connection, like Pilates and Yoga, tend to feel better and be more enjoyable, even for those of us that would say we don't like working out. 


Human beings are holistic creatures whose minds and bodies very much function as one unit (even though much of more modern Westernized culture has taught us otherwise). If you dread moving your body in the first place, it could be because you’re missing a mind-body connection, or never been taught how to cultivate one.

Cultivating a Mind-Body Connection Through Breath

Athletes spend a considerable amount of time increasing their lung capacity because they know that utilizing their breath in certain ways can enhance their performance. Lung capacity quite literally powers our physical movement and helps us create bigger movements, sustain physical activity, and resist more weight. 


Clinical psychologists and those that work in mental health fields emphasize the importance of the breath too, with many therapy practices focusing on helping clients retrain the way they breathe to reduce anxiety and stress and even release trauma experiences. 


“Watching a baby breathing, you see their belly go up and down,” writes Kaitlin Harkess, Ph.D.,, a clinical psychologist and registered yoga and meditation teacher. This type of breathing is called diaphragmatic breathing because the contraction of the diaphragm allows the deepening of the breath. “It is a practice that can help decrease the symptoms of stress and anxiety, both psychological and biological, such as cortisol levels,” writes Harkess. 


Under stress, however, we stop breathing diaphragmatically, and instead rely on using our chest instead to inhale and exhale. The more time we spend under stress of any sort, the more we train our bodies to breathe in our chest, losing the connection to our diaphragm and the greater connection between our bodies and our minds. 


Like we’ve mentioned before, diaphragmatic breathing is a foundational aspect of a Pilates practice and a key part of the workout, which means the modality itself is literally designed to help you find and foster a mind-body connection. 


This is good news for anyone who hates working out because it means engaging in the practice could help you find the missing link between the physiological and the emotional/mental elements of yourself, and in turn change the way you experience and relate to movement.


Have you experienced the power of the mind-body connection for yourself? How has it changed the way you think about and relate to physical activity, exercise, or moving your body?


Back to blog

Leave a comment