Chances are you’ve heard at least once the old Latin saying “Mens Sana in Corpore Sano,” translated as “a healthy mind in a healthy body.” There are good reasons why we are still using this ancient saying. Romans were not far from the truth when claiming that a healthy body has to do with a healthy mind. While exercising is essential for a healthy body, you might be surprised to learn that meditation after exercise can help you optimize your efforts and achieve your fitness goals faster. Combining meditation with regular physical activity can be extremely beneficial and can help you achieve impressive results in a short time.
For several reasons, most of us tend to focus on exercising more than anything when trying to start following a healthier lifestyle. But we forget the importance of cultivating a healthy mind. To help you understand the power of meditation and its effects on your workouts, we’ve put together an essential guide about the importance of meditation after exercise. If you are interested in the many benefits meditation can bring you and how it can improve your overall health, keep reading it.
Why Should You Practice Meditation After Exercise?
Meditation is an ancient practice that has helped individuals for centuries to reach a clear and calm mental state. Recently, meditation seems to have become a “trend” followed by a considerable number of celebrities and entrepreneurs, who praise its many benefits. But meditation has been practiced for several centuries, especially in the Eastern world, with impressive results.
In the Western world, we are still not well accustomed to meditation, but things seem to be changing. We are all aware of the benefits of exercise and its power to boost your mood, confidence, and prevent health problems your body might suffer from following a sedentary lifestyle. We are only starting to get familiar with the several added benefits of meditation.
Because both exercise and meditation are both extremely beneficial, why not combine them?
Combining meditation with regular physical activity can give you several benefits. If done correctly, they can work hand in hand: meditation will help you maximize your performance during exercise and optimize the outcomes. On the other hand, exercising will help you better meditate and reach a calmer state of mind. So, just like meditation allows you to train your mind, regular physical exercise trains your body.
All in all, meditation and exercise can be a powerful combo. Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons why practicing meditation after exercise should be part of your regular exercise and gym routine.
You’ll Get More Stamina
Because meditation focuses on breathing, it allows you to balance your body’s needs and maximize your stamina for your next workouts. With more stamina, you’ll be able to do more without getting tired as quickly: meditating after exercise will increase your resistance and improve your overall performance. With time, you’ll become stronger quicker, which will help you reach your goals faster. Many of the scientific benefits of meditation should that meditation changes physical aspects of us, not just mental.
It Will Help You To Build More Muscle Mass
One of the main reasons you should be practicing meditation after exercise is to optimize the muscle-building process.
If you regularly exercise and you are not focused on weight loss, chances are your goal is to build some muscle mass through focused workouts. Meditation can help you become a more focused and disciplined person, leading to better and more intense weight lifting sessions.
But in addition, meditation has been shown to lower levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone, and is often produced by the body after an intense workout. This hormone can sometimes breakdown muscle tissue, a bodybuilders worst nightmare. A regular meditation practice after exercise can help lower the production of this hormone.
Reduce Cortisol Levels
As we already pointed out, meditation can help reduce levels of cortisol. While this benefits those trying to build muscle, it also helps those looking to improve their physical health through exercise.
There are no doubts about the benefits of exercising. However, don’t forget that exercising also contributes to putting some stress on your system. Of course, the kind of stress caused by an intense workout is beneficial, as it sends signals to your brain that your body needs to adapt to the strain by getting faster and better.
What is less beneficial is the production of the hormone cortisol, that spikes whenever your body is stressed. Cortisol is useful at low levels, as it contributes to improving your mood and assisting fat loss. But, as with many other things in life, when in excess, cortisol is counterproductive. Your body interprets high levels of cortisol as a sign that something is wrong. For this reason, with high cortisol, you’ll start feeling mentally clouded, you’ll suffer from inflammation and, you’ll store abdominal fat.
Your body doesn’t distinguish different types of stress, such as the one you get when you are stuck in traffic to the one that your body experience during a challenging workout. Meditation can become a powerful ally to counterplay the effects high levels of cortisol can have in your body. Meditating after your workout can play an essential role in your recovery and lower the cortisol concentration in your blood.
Meditation Will Help Your Body Recover
No matter how intense your workout is, your body needs to recover after exercising. Meditation after exercise plays an essential role in recovery. It can help your body get better faster while reducing the risk of injury, thanks to the lowering of cortisol on your body. Meditation post-workout will also reduce pain and body ache an intense workout might bring you. Meditating will help you feel less pain and lower any stress you might be feeling. In such a way, your body will be able to focus on recovering properly.
Meditation can also help you sleep faster at night and have more restful sleep. Don’t underestimate the value of sleep and recovery when it comes to exercise. All that muscle building or fat loss occurs while you’re rest and while you’re asleep. Use meditation as a tool to help you sleep better.
What Type Of Meditation Is Good After Exercise?
As you might be aware, there are different types of meditation you can practice. Depending on what suits you better, you can do guided meditations, movement-based meditation sessions such as yoga, or sit in silence for a few minutes.
To see what kind of meditation to start with, investigate which ones you can easily incorporate into your life. A common type of meditation many people decide to settle into is yoga. After a workout, doing some yoga will help you properly stretch and end your exercise session with an active form of meditation. Otherwise, you can opt for a more passive meditation session, which sounds easy but can be quite challenging. Don’t underestimate the challenge of sitting down quietly for some minutes!
No matter the type of meditation you choose to practice, the ultimate goal of any session is to quiet your mind, which will have positive effects on your body.
If you are new to meditation, you can start with a simple routine that you can easily add at the end of your workout session. Here is a basic guideline you can follow.
- Set a 10-minute timer
- Sit in a comfortable position with your legs crossed on the floor and your eyes closed
- Start inhaling deeply through your nose (if it helps, count mentally up to two while inhaling)
- Hold your breath for two more counts
- Slowly exhale through your mouth counting for four counts
- Repeat the exercise for the whole period.
Once you start getting comfortable with this exercise, you can challenge yourself by increasing the amount of time you dedicate to your meditation. A common question is “how long should you meditate for after working out?”. There’s no real correct answer except whatever works best for you. We recommend at least 10 minutes, and on average, 20 minutes if possible.
Here’s also a simple breathing exercise you can follow. It’s only 5 minutes if that’s all the time you have.
What Is The Hype About Timing?
Meditation is beneficial, no matter when you practice. However, depending on when you decide to meditate, you’ll get different results. For example, meditating before your workout will help you increase your focus. On the other hand, as you should already know, practicing meditation after exercise will help you improve your future performances and aid in your body’s recovery. On top of that, it can also help you reduce pain after an intense workout.
So, timing does matter, as it can define the results you’ll get from your session. The best time to meditate when it comes to exercise is immediately after. Also, remember that to see significant changes, you’ll need to follow a routine in which you combine exercise with a post-workout meditation session.
The Bottom Line
The well-known powers of meditation and exercise can work complementary. Both can be beneficial for you, but while you might have never thought of it, combining the two activities will result in a powerful combo that will help you achieve impressive wellness, fitness, and mental clarity.
As we tried to explain with this essential guide, adding a meditation session after your workout can leave you with several benefits. Contrary to what you might be thinking of, the benefits a good meditation session can bring you are not only limited to your mental state: meditation after exercise can have an impressing impact on your physical wellbeing. In particular, meditation can help speed up your body’s recovery and increase muscle building. If done correctly, meditation can help you achieve a level of discipline that will accelerate your fitness goals.
What are you waiting for? Start incorporating meditation in your workout routine: you’ll be surprised by the results!