How Breathwork, Mindful Movement, and Meditation Are Integral to Your Fitness Routine

We live in a fast-paced world with overwhelming news stories and information overload. On top of that, fitness often revolves around intense workouts and rigorous training schedules. However, people are increasingly beginning to recognize the importance of incorporating breathwork, mindful movement and meditation into their fitness routines. These practices, rooted in ancient traditions, are integral for physical well-being and mental and emotional balance.

What Is Mindfulness and Why Is Everyone Talking About It?

Mindfulness and meditation are likely terms you’ve come into contact with a lot recently, whether at the gym, on social media or with a friend. Everyone seems to be meditating and wondering how to integrate mindfulness into fitness. There’s a reason so many people are making it a critical part of their training.


Mindfulness is a practice that involves being fully present and engaged in the current moment without judgment. Breathwork is fundamental to many ancient wellness practices, such as yoga and tai chi. It involves conscious control and manipulating your breath to promote relaxation, focus and energy flow.


Mindfulness typically involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings and sensations in a nonreactive way. It often includes techniques like meditation, deep breathing and other forms of focused awareness. The goal is to create a heightened state and develop a nonjudgmental acceptance of your experiences.


These terms come from Buddhist traditions, but the West has adapted and popularized them. Due to the various health benefits, many people have incorporated mindfulness into their routines. Research suggests that regular practice can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It may also improve focus and attention. As a result, it’s gained popularity in therapeutic settings, workplaces, social media and general wellness discussions.


It’s relatively simple to implement, making it accessible to almost anyone. People from different backgrounds and belief systems can practice mindfulness, and it doesn’t require any special equipment. As people seek ways to manage stress and improve their mental health, mindfulness has become a widely discussed and practiced approach.

The Benefits of Mindful Movement and Meditation

Incorporating mindful movement and meditation into your fitness routine can elevate overall well-being. A host of benefits come with adding these practices to your workouts, including the following:

  • Improved focus and concentration: Mindfulness encourages being fully present in the moment. Applying this to exercise can help you focus on your movements, form and how your body feels, reducing distractions. This heightened awareness can lead to better concentration during the workout.
  • Enhanced mind-body connection: Mindfulness emphasizes connecting the mind and body. When exercising mindfully, you become more aware of your movements, muscles and overall physical sensations. This connection can lead to better concentration during your sessions.
  • Enhanced performance: Increased awareness and focus on your workout can improve performance. Athletes, in particular, may benefit from adding mindfulness techniques to optimize their training and competition outcomes.
  • Stress reduction: Mindfulness is known for its stress-reducing benefits, and exercise is a natural stress reliever. Combining the two can amplify the tension-reducing effects, helping you cope better.
  • Increased enjoyment: Mindful exercise involves paying attention to the experience without judging your performance. Adding mindfulness can make your routine more enjoyable if exercise sometimes feels like a chore. You may find greater satisfaction in the process, leading to increased motivation to stay active.
  • Emotional regulation: Mindfulness can help you regulate your emotions, contributing to a more positive exercise experience. By not judging yourself you can better cope with challenges or setbacks in your fitness journey.
  • Improved recovery: Meditation or deep breathing can help you relax and recover after intense exercise. Relaxing can reduce muscle tension, promoting faster recovery and preventing burnout.

How to Integrate Mindfulness Into Fitness

Start each workout with a clear intention. This could be a specific goal for the session, such as improving your form, increasing your endurance, bettering your speed or simply staying present in the moment.


Begin implementing mindfulness into your fitness routine at a pace that feels comfortable for you. Trying to be too mindful too quickly can be overwhelming. Start with short sessions, such as 10 minutes of deep breathing or a brief body scan, and gradually increase the duration as you become more accustomed to the practice.


Dedicate a few minutes to mindful breathing before, during or after your workout. Focus on inhaling and exhaling deeply, bringing awareness to the rise and fall of your chest or the sensation of the breath in your nostrils.


Incorporate a brief body scan before starting your exercises. Close your eyes and bring attention to each part of your body, releasing any tension you may notice.


Begin your workout with a mindful warmup. Pay attention to the sensations in your body as you gradually increase your heart rate. Focus on the movements and muscles involved in each exercise.


Select exercises and physical activities that you genuinely enjoy. Whether dancing, hiking, running or practicing tai chi, engaging in activities you love enhances the likelihood of staying present and mindful. Enjoying the movement itself makes it easier to be fully immersed in the experience and reap the benefits of mindfulness in fitness.


Practice conscious and deliberate movement during your sessions. Whether lifting weights, doing bodyweight exercises or running, be fully present in each repetition. Focus on the muscle contractions and movements to help you properly engage the correct muscles, ensuring you get the best results.

Which Exercises Are the Best for Mindfulness?

You can add mindful movement to any workout or sport. Here’s how you can make it part of your fitness routine.


Yoga is deeply embedded in mindfulness, making it the ideal place to start if you want to cultivate a strong mind-body connection. The deliberate postures, synchronized with breath, encourage presence in the moment.


HIIT, a workout involving short bursts of intense activity followed by brief rest periods, can also be a form of mindfulness. Instead of racing through the intervals, concentrate on the power and control of each movement. Bringing mindfulness into HIIT can boost your cardiovascular fitness, burn calories efficiently and sharpen your mental focus. HIIT workouts are typically short, and most people only do them two to three times a week, making them a time-efficient way of adding mindful movement to your schedule.


Tai chi, known as the “meditation in motion,” is a martial art that embodies mindfulness. The slow, flowing movements improve balance, flexibility and strength but also demand a focused awareness of each move.


Transform your run into a mindful exercise by paying attention to each step, breath and rhythm of your stride. Rather than zoning out with music, immerse yourself in the surroundings, feeling the ground beneath your feet.

Level up Your Fitness Routine

When pursuing optimal health and fitness, it’s essential to recognize the interconnectedness of the body and mind. Breathwork, meditation and mindful movement offer a holistic approach that can take your routine to the next level.

Article written by:

Beth Rush

Beth Rush is the nutrition editor at Body+Mind, a health and wellness brand. She covers topics like mindful eating, sustainable agriculture, and plant-based recipes. You can find Beth on Twitter @bodymindmag. Subscribe to Body+Mind for more posts by Beth!