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#IWD International Women’s Day Series: Mindfulness and exercise

12 March, 2018

Who does that to their employees? A few days before IWD say: “Can you write a paragraph on exercise for IWD?” To Megan, Jane, Alex, Marzena, Martine and Alison – I am sorry.

But the advantage of dropping this short writing task on them so suddenly is they just write from their heart and don’t overthink it. It just happens and that is sometimes more meaningful.

Today’s blog is from Martine and she is writing about Mindfulness.

Martine is a great advocate of mindfulness, teaching about it in the pain relaxation class (which used to be held on a Monday night) and using it every day in clinic with our patients who are suffering persistent pain.

Mindfulness is important in our increasingly mindless world. How easy is it to realise that a whole hour has slipped by due to swiping on Facebook or Instagram. Mindless activity. (Don’t get me wrong I do plenty of that.) Binge watching on Netflix – literally hours and hours slip by (come on Bob just one more episode….please). More mindless activity (yes we do plenty of that as well).

You see being mindful doesn’t always require a mat, mood lighting or soft music. It doesn’t always require an instructor to direct it. What it does require is for you to focus on your breathing, your thoughts, where you are and yourself. Being present. Using exercise as your vehicle for being mindful is so useful because you achieve two goals with the one activity. So here is Martine’s contribution on how exercise is her go-to mindfulness opportunity.

We have already read in the wonderful blogs written by my co-workers, about how exercise can be many things to many different people. Depending on the day and what I’m doing, for me exercise can be:

  • alone time
  • stress relief
  • self-care of my body
  • fresh air
  • exercise for my dog
  • expending some toddler energy
  • catching up with friends while we exercise together.

Martine having some mindful time with her kids

One of my favourite things about exercise is that it gives an opportunity for mindfulness. I find I can easily let my thoughts quiet, and focus on sensing what’s going on in my body, and in the world around me.

The feel of my feet hitting the ground, movement through my limbs, the sensation of the air on my skin. It is a wonderful way to calm and centre my mind into the present moment. Not everyone can find time or inclination to sit down and meditate each day, but exercise and movement can be an easy avenue to find a space for mindfulness in our busy lives.

The known benefits for mindfulness seem to be increasing everyday including:

  • reducing stress
  • increased immune response
  • improvement in pain levels or ability to cope with pain
  • improved coping skills
  • reduced aggression
  • improved work performance
  • mood elevation

All this just by moving mindfully- so it’s just another reason why I love exercise and I wouldn’t give it up for anything, nor would I ask anyone to give it up or want anyone else to give up exercise because of an injury, pain or pelvic floor dysfunction.


Thanks Martine. A brilliant succinct summary of mindfulness. As I said in the blog on yoga, I am finding yoga a great time for mindfulness. Being in the moment, feeling my gradual millimeter improvements in stretch-ability (no that isn’t a word), focusing on my breath and my increasing strength and achievement. Why don’t you think about incorporating some mindful exercise into every week and I will too, continuing to fulfil my 2018 New Years resolutions.

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