Mind-body exercise is best characterised by low-moderate intensity, physical activity performed with a meditative, proprioceptive, or sensory-awareness component.
Examples of popular mind-body exercises include yoga, pilates, tai chi, haha yoga and some ancient martial arts (karate & judo).
Not only does participation in these activities enhance our bodies, but as the name suggests- our minds also. Self-focus and specific breathing patterns are beneficial in managing specific fitness and health concerns, including stress-related disorders, deterioration of musculoskeletal health, decreased balance control, hypertension, depression, pain management and decreased self-confidence. For many people, the calming and contemplative states experiences make this form of exercise more enjoyable and therefore they are more likely to stick to an exercise program. Mind-body exercise is perfect for those who either cannot perform or do not require higher intensity traditional exercise routines.
Regular participation in mind-body exercise has been associated with many health benefits such as improved muscular strength, flexibility, balance and co-ordination, and most importantly from a health promotion viewpoint, increased mental development and self-esteem.