5 benefits of meditation for reaching your fitness goals
Meditation is the practice of turning your attention to a single point of reference. It can involve focusing on the breath, on bodily sensations, or on a word or phrase known as a mantra. Meditation means turning your attention away from distracting thoughts and focusing on the present moment.
One of the greatest benefits of meditation is that it is a way for us to become more self-aware. It is an opportunity to get out of autopilot, reconnect with the present moment and clear the busy mental chatter that keeps us from experiencing any deeper reflection.
A regular meditation practice or simply taking 5 minutes to mediate post-workout is a powerful way to make progress towards your fitness goal or enhance your athletic performance. The is certainly a reason why many of the worlds top athletes and sports professionals use meditation or visualisation techniques to give them the mindset required for peak performance.
Here are 5 ways a post-workout mediation session can help you reach your fitness goals:
1. Decrease Stress - Reduce Cortisol levels
All forms of meditation activate the relaxation response, this is particularly beneficial after any strenuous exercise session that elevates levels of the stress hormone - cortisol in the body.
2. Improve Focus
Mediation is the practice of bringing the mind back to the present moment. This can be particularly useful after a training session or sport that requires the brain to be in a highly reactive mode. Meditation brings the mind back into a state of calm and focus.
3. Increase Recovery
Taking 5-10 minutes to meditation can greatly increase your recovery after a workout session. By simply sitting in stillness you are giving your body a chance to cool down and recalibrate.
4. Increased Self-Awareness
Mediation is the practice of observing our own thoughts. It is an opportunity for self-reflection and can allow us to objectively evaluate our performance after a training session, workout or game.
5. Elevate Mood
Taking time out to meditate is also a wonderful opportunity to practice gratitude. When we focus on what is going well in our lives instead of everything we lack, our mood is automatically elevated. This is particularly useful when reflecting on progress in the gym or in training. Take some time to be thankful for the progress you have made and the growth you will experience form pushing yourself beyond your limits.
5 Minute Meditation Technique
Set a time or stopwatch for 5 minutes
Sit upright in a comfortable position, preferably with your legs crossed on the floor, (be sure you are dressed warmly)
Gently close your eyes,
Inhale deeply through your nose, expanding your diaphragm, for a count of 2,
Hold your breath for another 2 counts,
Exhale slowly through your mouth for 4 counts, and
Repeat the breathing pattern for the allotted period of time.
By Amber Jane McCormick