BY DAISY MOSS
Meditation can mean different things to different people, but something that most people who practice meditation have in common is that it has greatly helped them in some way. One-way meditation can help is through its ability to improve your mental health, and therefore, your physical fitness. Incorporating as little as 10 minutes of meditation into your daily routine can have unbelievable effects on how you feel and function when you’re exercising, as well as in your everyday life.
Here we will be looking at the relationship between meditation and exercise, the benefits of meditation in relation to fitness, how you can incorporate it into your busy lifestyle, and finally the importance of maintaining a balanced diet to get the most out of your meditative experiences. Many people are skeptical about meditation before trying it, but once you have, you won’t turn back.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MEDITATION AND EXERCISE
Pairing meditation with exercise can completely change how you feel. Maintaining your mental fitness is essential to performing well when doing physical activity, which in turn makes your overall wellness phenomenal. Having a clear and focused mind when working out will help you to focus on exactly what you are doing, enabling you to engage your muscles and to push yourself that extra bit further than you have before. This will do wonders for your confidence and dial up your determination. Your mental fitness and physical fitness complement each other massively. You’ll be shocked at the difference you notice, not only will you be more confident and determined, but also more productive than ever.
THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION FOR YOUR FITNESS
Meditation has the ability to enhance all aspects of our mind and body which can help take your mental and physical strength to another level. It can:
- Encourage Happiness – Meditation generally makes people happier and improves their mood, meaning you can wake up feeling fantastic ready for your workout. Everyone knows how great it is to be in a fantastic mood before starting your workout – you get so much more out of it!
- Focus Your Breathing – A large part of meditation is focused on the breath and having complete control over it. If you are aware of how to utilize and control your breath throughout your workout, you’re much more likely to be able to run that extra kilometer or beat your personal best. The breath is such a powerful tool when it comes to fitness, so using meditation to gain optimal control over it is a must.
- Clear the Mind – If you go into a workout with an overworked mind, you won’t be able to focus. Try spending 10 minutes meditating before your gym session to clear your mind, giving you space to focus on exactly what you’re trying to achieve. You will be more focused and self-disciplined throughout your workout.
- Boost Your Energy – Meditation helps to release endorphins and increase your blood flow, meaning your entire body will have more energy. There’s nothing worse than hitting a wall halfway through a good workout, and although pre-workout supplements can help, meditation may be a more natural and long term solution.
- Reduces Stress – Stress completely drains you of energy, which will also make you far less productive in the gym. Not being fully alert and focused will lead to a poor and potentially dangerous workout. Meditation will relieve you of excess stress and give your mind space to make the most of your time in the gym.
INCORPORATING MEDITATION INTO DAILY LIFE
Life can be chaotic, so taking time to yourself while also maintaining a demanding fitness regime can seem like a difficult thing to do. Yet, finding your balance and giving your mind time to unwind, even for a short amount of time, will ensure you get so much more out of your workouts.
Decide on a set amount of time that works in your daily routine, maybe five or 10 minutes, or potentially up to an hour. Guided meditation apps, like Calm, offer support throughout your meditation, along with hundreds of different programs to suit your time restrictions. Find a way to fit this into your life, perhaps for 10 minutes before your morning workout or 30 minutes before bed instead of watching one more episode on Netflix.
Having a consistent routine with meditation embedded into your day will help you to fully relax when it comes to it, as your body will adapt more quickly and you will feel the benefits even more. Of course, life gets in the way sometimes, but trying to fit in even a few minutes will make a huge difference to your life and fitness.
DON’T FORGET YOUR BALANCED DIET!
Food has the ability to nourish both your body and your mind, hence it is important to align the two properly. If you aren’t fueling your brain and body properly, maintaining optimum focus during meditation will be difficult, therefore you will struggle to get the most out of your experience. Here are some of the essential food groups you should be consuming to optimize your time meditating as well as helping improve your fitness:
- Carbohydrates – Non-processed carbohydrates such as potatoes, whole-grain cereals, and beans are absorbed slowly by the body which gives you a more consistent energy source while working out and meditating. Avoiding any dramatic highs or lows in your blood sugar is likely to keep your body, and therefore mind, in a calm and relaxed state.
- Vitamins and Minerals – Eating nutrient dense foods is a great way to support your meditation journey, as vitamins and minerals can keep both your mind and body healthy by supporting essential bodily functions. For those of you who have a hectic schedule and simply don’t have time to ensure that you are consuming all the vitamins and minerals necessary, supplements can be a great option. For example, vitamin D tablets are designed to support your energy production – keeping you focused and alert, thus more productive when you’re working on both your mental and physical fitness.
- Nuts and Seeds – According to ayurvedic tradition, nuts and seeds promote balance within the body as they are considered to be pure and non-harming. They are a part of the sattvic food group, along with whole grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables, and natural sweeteners. If you are extremely committed to your meditation journey, incorporating these foods into each meal can help your ability to maintain a high consciousness and meditate effectively. They are also extremely good for you and can do wonders for your fitness.
Many people say that one of the hardest things about meditation is finding time to do it, but making a small effort to fit it in will definitely be worth it in the long run, as your fitness and overall health has the potential to improve massively. Pairing your meditation with exercise will help you maximize what you can get out of both of them separately, as well as together. Focusing on your diet can also make a huge difference to how effectively you are able to meditate, making those 10 minutes all the more useful. If you are ready to feel mentally strong and physically fit, set aside 10 minutes each day and you will soon begin to reap the benefits in all aspects of your life.