We often hear parents caution their children to be aware of their surroundings. However, as a Toronto personal trainer, I know that awareness is important no matter what age you are. Why? Because self-awareness can have a direct effect on your waistline!
What is Awareness?
Awareness, as a general concept, is the act of being aware – of having knowledge of, or being cognizant of, something. That something can be anything: the weather outside, the feelings of someone you are speaking to, the car in the next lane. However, the two kinds of awareness that personal trainers are most interested in are mental awareness and physical awareness.
Physical and Mental Awareness
Physical awareness, as it pertains to the body, is awareness of one’s physical being. This includes the size and shape of one’s person, any physical strengths and weaknesses, and the current state of one’s physical self. A basic example is knowing how far you have to extend your arm to reach a glass, which requires physical awareness of how long your arm is. A more fitness-geared example is knowing that you can normally run three miles in a row but conceding to the fact that your knee hurts and only running one, thus adjusting your normal capacities to a current state.
Mental awareness, on the other hand, is being aware of all of the same things – state, strengths and weaknesses, general qualities – except in a mental/emotional capacity. Mental awareness, though not as tangible, is just as important as physical awareness. A good example of exercising mental awareness is avoiding volatile situations because of an awareness of having a short temper or being in a bad mood. Another is using a good quality, such as the ability to think on one’s feet, to help someone in an emergency.
Self Awareness ———————–> Actions ———————-> Self Sufficiency
Awareness and Fitness
So what does all of this have to do with fitness? As a Personal trainer in Toronto, I see both physical and mental awareness come into play all of the time in the form of body weight. People struggling with weight loss are often plagued by a lack of both forms of awareness, and both types of awareness tend to feed into one another as well.
For example, a person who is unaware of their physical capacities and needs may eat too much because they aren’t sure how much is enough. Lack of mental awareness often contributes to overeating as well, as people who are suffering from depression, stress, or other problems they are not fully aware of may unconsciously soothe themselves by overeating rather than tackling the problem head-on.