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Zen Relaxation between Exercises

If you are not already familiar with Interval Training it is the concept of alternating exercises in a routine so you are alternating between high intensity exercises and low intensity exercises. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) for example is one brand of Interval Training.

One way of doing this would be:

Jogging for 5 minutes, walking for 2 minutes, Sprinting for 1 minute;
Jogging for 5 minutes, walking for 2 minutes, Sprinting for 1 minute;
Jogging for 5 minutes, walking for 2 minutes, Sprinting for 1 minute;
Etc.

Do that for 40 minutes and then walk home and you've had a pretty productive workout.

The benefits of such a program means you are building endurance and speed, but you're not overtaxing your heart rate - it also means you can change it up regularly. Interval Training is very flexible in that you can change it and adapt it to whatever you want to do. The only really challenge is measuring the time you use for each exercise - I use music for my changes myself, each song is a different exercise, but there are also smart phone apps with buzzers that you can use that tell you when to switch to a different exercise.

For weightlifters for example they might alternate between heavier weights on barbells, and then switch to light weight dumbells, and then jog or skip rope for 10 minutes before hitting the heavy weights again. On any particular day they might vary how much time they dedicate to each exercise, or they might do the exact same exercise every day just because they love having the same routine and not having to think about it.

Using Zen relaxation techniques in-between different exercises, this is another way you could change the way you exercise.

Say for example a person wanted to create their own approach to Zen Archery training. They might do the following for two hours:

1. Shoot for 10 minutes.
2. Meditate for 10 minutes.
3. Shoot for 10 minutes.
4. Read zen poetry for 10 minutes.
5. Shoot for 10 minutes.
6. Breathing exercises (focus on deep belly breathing, do not use your chest) for 10 minutes.
7. Shoot for 10 minutes.
8. Light yoga for 10 minutes.
9. Shoot for 10 minutes.
10. PMR (progressive muscular relaxation) for 10 minutes.
11. Shoot for 10 minutes.
12. Meditate for 10 minutes.

And then pack up your archery gear and head home feeling relaxed, refreshed and the feeling of having accomplished something today.

I am just using archery as an example here, but the concept could be applied to any sport or activity. By mixing in meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, PMR and even zen poetry you can turn your exercise routine into a more relaxing and thoughtful process - making it the best part of your day.


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