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Autogenic training: what it is and its benefits for sports

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1 What is autogenic training?
  • 1 What is autogenic training?
  • 2 Autogenic training
  • 3 Autogenic training
  • 4 Autogenic training

    Let’s meet it together

    A healthy body is necessary for an athlete’s development. A healthy mind is also essential for mental and physical well-being. Before a competition, autogenic training is often practiced as a useful relaxation technique to prepare the body and mind. But what does it consist of?

    Autogenic training is a relaxation technique that was devised by German physician Johannes Heinrich Schultz in the 20th century. This technique, based on the principles of autosuggestion and self-hypnosis, has become famous worldwide as an effective method for relieving stress, anxiety, and depression. The main goal of autogenic training is to induce deep relaxation through self-control of the mind and body. Regular practice of this technique can help achieve general mental and physical well-being by improving concentration, stimulating creativity, and promoting deeper sleep. Although used chiefly within psychotherapy, autogenic training is an excellent ally in sports to improve how an athlete faces a competition.

    How does it work?

    The central aspect of autogenic training is using specific autosuggestion formulas called “concentration formulas.”
    They focus on physical sensations such as warmth, heaviness, or relaxation of muscles, which help create a state of deep tranquility. But that’s not all. Reducing exteroceptive and proprioceptive stimulation is another essential part of addressing relaxation: the athlete assumes a comfortable position in a quiet environment and then focuses on body sensations.
    The person doing the autogenic training exercises should focus on breathing and begin to focus on internal sensations rather than external stimuli.
    It is essential to take time to practice autogenic training, especially if you are starting, so that the body and mind can adapt to this technique.
    Start with short sessions of 5-10 minutes twice a day, and then increase their duration as you become more familiar with the method.
    Autogenic training requires a lot of commitment and consistency to achieve lasting results; ideally, you should maintain regular practice for at least a few weeks before evaluating its effects on sports performance.

    It is possible to learn and practice autogenic training with the help of a qualified professional, such as a psychotherapist or specialized instructor. They can help you understand the correct techniques and tailor the practice to your needs.

    The benefits

    What happens to the body during autogenic training? This practice offers numerous health benefits as it affects several functions of the autonomic nervous system, such as:

    • breathing;
    • circulation;
    • metabolism.

    But not only that. As has been said, a healthy mind lives in a healthy body.
    If the psyche is not completely serene, regaining control over the body is challenging.
    That’s why autogenic training also benefits stress management (in and out of a race), regulating tremors caused by anxiety, decreasing the accelerated heartbeat during a tachycardia, improving sleep quality and self-esteem, and promoting introspection and self-control in anger management.

    The exercises

    The world of sports relies on a perfect combination of physical strength and mental resilience.
    To achieve their athletic goals, athletes must handle stress, anxiety, and daily pressures. Autogenic training exercises help athletes develop greater awareness of their bodies and control signs of tension.

    A popular exercise in autogenic training is the deep breathing technique.
    Through long, deep breaths, the athlete relaxes their body and increases concentration of the mind.
    This is an exercise that can be done at any time of day. Still, it is especially useful before a competition or during recovery.

    Another common exercise in autogenic training is guided imagination.
    One is guided to mentally visualize a calm and relaxing place. This exercise helps to create a state of deep relaxation and reduce stress. During this visualization, athletes can focus on feeling calm and in control of their body and mind.

    Body awareness is a crucial element in autogenic training. Athletes learn to focus on the various parts of the body, recognize the sensations, and relax them. This process allows athletes to gain more control and reduce muscle tension.
    A simple but effective exercise to practice is to contract the muscles of each body part and then gradually relax them.
    This process releases accumulated tension and makes the body more relaxed and ready for action.

    To get the maximum benefits from autogenic training, it is important to practice the exercises regularly.
    Consistency and discipline are key to developing and maintaining the skills acquired with this technique.
    Athletes can find a quiet time during the day to engage in autogenic training or incorporate the exercises within their training routine.
    In this way, they learn to recognize and control signs of anxiety and tension, developing greater self-awareness.
    With consistent practice, autogenic training can become a powerful ally in achieving success in sports and everyday life.

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