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Focus and Concentration. Improve Your Ability to Concentrate with Exercise.

Updated on April 7, 2014

Concentration & Focus

Concentration is the ability to isolate your thoughts by filtering them. You minimize the number of unrelated thoughts. For example if I concentrate on my breathing I keep thinking about my breathing to prevent me from thinking about other things. If an unrelated thought pops up I think about my breathing to stop me from having unwanted thoughts. When you are not concentrating you are thinking about a lot of unrelated things.

Focus is your ability to pay attention to a central point of interest. Usually in order to gain information. I focus on my TV when I watch TV shows and movies on my TV. Focus and concentration means being aware of what is going on and isolating your thoughts. You should concentrate at least a little so you will remember what you were paying attention to. You should focus when you are isolating your thoughts so you are aware of what is going on.

Improving your focus means being more aware while improving your concentration means getting better at isolating your thoughts. Your mental strength and endurance is determined by your ability to pay attention and think about one topic at a time.

Concentration Span

Your concentration span is the amount of time you can concentrate for. It is the amount of time you can prevent your mind from wandering from one topic to another unrelated topic. People naturally have a lot of unrelated thoughts. They think about a lot of different things in a very short amount of time instead of staying on topic. Filtering your thoughts takes some mental effort.

People can only concentrate on something for a very limited amount of time before they get tired or bored but you can increase your concentration span with a little practice. Your concentration span can be increased like your physical endurance. Set a timer and try to fully concentrate on something for 60 seconds. Only think about it. After you get good at it increase the duration to 90 seconds, 120 seconds, etc.

Me doing an L-sit on my computer chair.
Me doing an L-sit on my computer chair. | Source
Me doing a side plank.
Me doing a side plank. | Source
Woman doing yoga.
Woman doing yoga. | Source

Mindful Exercise

Some exercise require a great deal of thought. For those exercises I can't do the exercise while thinking about other things without impairing my ability to do the exercise. Holding a difficult pose can require intense focus and concentration. You need to keep thinking about the exercise and paying close attention to your body. If your mind wanders then you stop doing everything you should be doing.

Body weight exercises that require strength, balance and good form are great for improving your focus and concentration. They are even better when you use deep slow belly breathing. It gives you more to think about. Doing the exercises on a regular basis and trying to improve can improve your focus and concentration and that can carry over to other activities. For example it can improve your ability to remember things throughout the day. So it is good for your mind and your body.

Planks and side planks, yoga, tai chi, qigong, L-sits, frog stands and handstands are just a few of the physical exercise that require a lot of focus and concentration. You think about the exercise, the position of your body, your muscles, your breathing, how you feel physically and the way you feel mentally.

If you include exercises like the ones I mentioned above in your exercise routine you can strengthen your mind and your body at the same time. Meditation is a great mental exercise for improving your focus and concentration.

Mindless Exercise

Me doing exploding push ups while wearing a heavy backpack.
Me doing exploding push ups while wearing a heavy backpack. | Source
Lifting a heavy dumbbell.
Lifting a heavy dumbbell. | Source

There are exercises you can do while watching TV, reading, texting, having a conversation, etc. You can multitask because the exercise does not require a lot of thought. Your body is busy exercising but your mind is free to think about other things. I run on an elliptical trainer, jump rope, lift dumbbells, bike, and do other exercises that require very little thought while I watch TV and improve a lot. I can get the results I want while my attention is divided.

Mindless exercise is good if you want to do two or more things at once. I improved my strength, my endurance and got a flat stomach while watching TV. If you don't multitask while doing mindless exercise you will most likely become bored very quickly. While mindless exercise can be good for your body and it is easier to fit into your routine, it does not provide you with a good mental workout.

If you want to improve your exercise performance or your mental abilities then put more thought into the exercises. Don't just go through the motions while you are thinking about other things. Focus on what you are doing and only think about the exercise until you are done.

To change from mindless to mindful exercise give it your full attention.

Working out my mind and my body.
Working out my mind and my body. | Source

Mind and Body

Exercise is good for your brain but some exercises are better than others. For best results vary your exercise routine and try new things. Try to improve, keep learning new things and keep challenging yourself. You can't increase your strength by doing easy exercises. Strengthen your mind and body by focusing and concentrating when you exercise instead of just going through the motions.

Playing mind games and doing other mental tasks is good for you brain but physical exercise can be good for your mind and your body.

© 2014 Michael H

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