When we do Pilates or yoga or tai chi, we find mindfulness built into the process as we breathe and pay careful attention to the placement of our bodies. Sometimes we feel like we have way too many body parts with minds of their own in the process! Remembering to breathe helps us along.
Cardio has its own kind of mindfulness. Most cardio exercises take on a rhythm that can help to focus our thoughts. (Focusing on the mantra “Is it over yet?” might not have the appropriate effect, but we can try it out to see.) The repetitive nature of most cardio can help still the crazy whirl of our thoughts.
In strength training, a focus on the breath can improve performance as it increases mindfulness. When we do the “hardest” part of the exercise (getting up from the squat, pressing the barbell away from the chest on a bench press, etc.), we can exhale to help the movement along. Inhaling during the other portion of the exercise allows us to reset and gather our forces for the next repetition.
No matter what, we have to keep breathing.