On the face of it, meditation and fitness seem pretty far removed from one another. While meditation is serene and effective at slowing the mind, most people want their workouts to be active and invigorating. However, meditation can bring a range of workout-enhancing benefits to fitness-minded people, and you can experience them with as little as 10 minutes of meditation per day.
Scientific studies have already proven that meditation lowers blood pressure, improves heart health, enhances the immune system, boosts mood and combats depression and anxiety. The following are six of the ways regular meditation can help to improve your physical fitness:
1. Enhanced Focus
Meditation strengthens focus and clarity of mind. These qualities can help to enhance performance in complex, active sports as well as staying on track with specific fitness goals.
2. Higher-Quality Workouts
Improved focus and mindfulness facilitated by meditation allows meditators to be more aligned with the present moment. This helps to tame the “monkey mind” so you’re not fretting about either the past or the future. The more “in the moment” you are, the better your performance will be. This results in a higher quality workout each time, with better fitness and performance gains.
3. Reduced Injury Risk
The laser-like focus cultivated through meditation also helps to filter out distractions in the environment during workouts. Because of this, your form will naturally be better, and your risk of making a wrong move and sustaining an injury will be greatly reduced.
4. Increased Strength and Drive
Enhanced focus and mental clarity naturally leads to a stronger drive to succeed. This increased drive will help you to stick with your fitness schedule, stay on plan and see every workout through with enthusiasm. You’ll also have deeper reserves of mental and physical strength to tap into. This extra energy will fuel both endurance and performance.
5. Improved Recovery Times
Recovery from workouts is just as important as the workout itself. Because meditation promotes relaxation, immune system strength, heart health and overall health, recovery at the cellular level is optimized through a regular meditation practice.
6. Improved Weight Loss
Yes, you read that right! Regular meditation can even assist with losing more weight. Meditation stimulates the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of the brain, which helps with willpower and resisting food cravings. Meditation may also help to optimize metabolism due to its positive effects on lowering blood pressure, making your body’s fat burning mechanisms more efficient. Meditators also tend to be less stressed and less prone to anxiety and depression; this in turn will reduce your odds of snacking or overeating in response to stress.
Meditation is accessible to everyone and requires just a small time commitment. It is as simple as getting quiet and focusing on the inflow and outflow of your breath, which always takes place in the present moment. Train yourself to become “the watcher” of your thoughts and feelings as they come and go, and strengthen that transcendent part of you that’s not defined by thoughts or emotions.
Ten minutes per day of meditation can yield all of the health benefits described here – although you may love it so much that you find yourself meditating longer and longer!