Why I love Endurance sports.
Endurance sports all allow me to get into a meditative state. Since I was a little kid I have participated in sports that require intense focus and repetitive movement. Each of these sports has a rhythmic quality in each repeated movement. Each stroke or footstep builds muscle memory. Endurance sports such as running, swimming and rowing require the athlete to have a high level of body awareness. Small changes in form, posture and even hand positioning can change the way that the body functions. It is this high level of focus coupled with repetition and an elevated heart rate that allows the athlete to slip into feelings of meditation.
The oars clanking in the oarlock with each stroke. Rowing.
Feet striking the ground in a rhythmic pattern. Running.
Skis pushing snow and ice creating a symmetrical pattern down a corridor of snow. Skate skiing.
Wheels spinning, pedals cranking, heart pounding. Cycling.
Water rushes by as hands splash with purpose in repetition, legs propelling in forward motion. Swimming.
Endurance sports can have many benefits for the athlete:
The benefits of endurance sports are profound on the body but also on the mind. You will discover many positive benefits to your mental health and well-being when you participate in endurance sports. Here are some of the benefits.
- stress relief
- release of endorphins which naturally improve your mood.
- “muscular meditation” (Source: Harvard Health Online)–repetitive motion exercises allow your muscles and your mind to relax.
- reduction of stress hormones
- help with depression
- improved self-esteem
Many people think that running 20 miles sounds boring, or wonder how you could possibly spend 2 hours skate skiing. For me these sports bring me intense focus which allows me to release any stress. I am able to relax while outputting energy on the trails, roads, and waterways. I am able to quiet my mind and to organize my thoughts. Being an extrovert I have never been one to enjoy being alone but through exercise I have found extreme peace in the solitude.
If you haven’t yet discovered the benefits of this type of exercise I would highly recommend giving it a try.
I crave the relaxation and calm that I find through endurance exercise. What about you? Do you enjoy endurance sports? If so which ones and why?
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