We know – finding the time to workout is already hard enough, so how could we possibly also incorporate time for meditation? Mindfulness is a big buzzword these days and for good reason. The idea is that when we improve the mind-body connection, our overall health improves, not just physical health, but our relationships, our work, and our workouts can all benefit from taking the time to incorporate even the smallest acts of mediation.
We’ve got five reasons to incorporate meditation into your fitness routine. Many of these can be applied beyond the gym into our daily lives and still reap the same benefits. When we solidify our mind-body connection the advantages begin to add up, from more focus to less stress, weight loss, improved sleep, and even a stronger immune system. You don’t need to become a zen-master in order to mediate, but you can find ways to add a little zen to your fitness routine, and you will feel all the better for it.
5 Reasons To Incorporate Meditation Into Your Fitness Routine
#1. Get In The Zone. Many athletes talk about this mysterious “zone” – it’s that point in a workout when your body starts to click and you feel strong, efficient, and powerful. One way to find the “zen” in your workout is to discover the rhythm, in your breathing, music, or in the reps and use it to find your focus and intensity. This is an important opportunity to forge that mind-body connection. Understanding how your body works and tapping into that moment will help you become stronger and even “smarter” about how your workout affects your body.
#2. Improve Strength. It’s not about how many reps you can complete, but how many good reps are done. Focus on the movement and doing it well, sometimes quality over quantity is better, and in the case of fitness, when your form of movement is important, an awareness of movement will not only make you stronger, it will also help to prevent injuries.
#3. Reduce Stress. The benefits of exercise decreasing stress in our lives as well as improving overall health are well documented. Meditation can also help relieve stress – if you’re in a particularly hard workout. Mental stress can weaken physical performance and meditation is one way to reduce the physical and mental stress that we experience. And your immune system will thank you too! With less stress, your body is less susceptible to bugs and germs that make us sick. When we feel less stressed, we are likely to make better choices, like we might choose to go on that run, pick a healthier meal, get to bed earlier. Meditation is also recommended for those who experience depression and anxiety as one way to help manage symptoms.
#4. Find Motivation. Studies have shown that individuals who meditate tend to be more regular with their workouts. If you want to be more consistent with your physical activity, use meditation as a motivation to get you out there. You do not need to make a grand gesture of meditation in order to reap its benefits, and we’re fans of even the smallest acts that can help us stay motivated to workout.
#5. Just Breathe. When the going gets tough, it’s time to start breathing. Slow down your heart rate with a few deep breaths. Not only will you reign in a racing heartbeat, you will deliver more oxygenated blood to your body. This physical benefit also promotes mental clarity, as you focus on your breath to help you focus on your workout.
Meditation can be done in big and small ways, so don’t feel like you have to roll out a yoga mat (great if you can!) or go beyond your comfort zone in order to incorporate meditation into your fitness routine. Take advantage of small moments to forge a stronger mind-body connection while you are working out. A deep breath during a spin class, pausing to enjoy the scenery on your daily walk, a few minutes of time each day to stretch…any of these are good opportunities to incorporate meditation into your workout.