Should I Meditate Before Or After A Workout?
A regular meditation practice reaps multiple benefits such as reduced stress, improved memory, and an overall better emotional state. Pair that with a regular workout, and you’ve got yourself a healthy mind and body. But which is better - meditating before or after a workout? Both are beneficial, and while the advantages are similar, they have some effects that differentiate them.
Meditating Before A Workout
People who meditate before a workout do it because it’s a great way to prepare the body and mind for the upcoming workout, so as to perform the best it can. Here are some reasons why meditating before a workout may be beneficial:
Meditation, in its most basic form, can be seen as a breathing exercise. By taking this practice of mindfulness and extending it into your workouts, it becomes a guide in how you can breathe properly, which can lead to better stamina and more controlled breathing.
Meditating before a workout, especially when done with light stretches, can act as a warm-up, which is an essential step to take before starting any workout session. A proper warm-up helps to prepare your muscles for upcoming intense movements and serves to prevent injury during the workout and reduce strain afterwards.
As with meditation, tuning into your thoughts, feelings, and intentions can help prepare your mind and body for a workout. People who meditate before exercising have found that it allows them to increase their focus, makes them more aware of their surroundings, and equips them with the proper mindset to complete their workout with higher levels of intensity.
Meditating After A Workout
Many people prefer to meditate after a workout because it helps calm the body after intense movement and trains it to better respond to the exercise. Here’s a breakdown of the benefits of meditating post-workout:
Reduced Cortisol Levels
After intense exercise, the body produces a hormone called cortisol. In small amounts, cortisol is good because it signals your body to adapt to stress and helps it build muscle. But too much cortisol can be bad for you; it can make you feel mentally clouded, increase inflammation, or induce the storage of abdominal fat. Meditation helps you reduce cortisol levels in the body, gradually lowering it to return your body to its regular state.
Workouts put the body under a lot of stress. Meditating after a workout can help train your body to respond to that stress more effectively. By lowering stress, meditation also helps you feel less pain through lowering your body pressure, relieving tension, and focusing your mind on recovery and healing.
Recovering after a workout is essential to prevent injury and ensure that your body sustainably benefits from the workout. Meditation can help speed up recovery by regulating your body and calming your mind.
How To Meditate Before Or After A Workout
There are many methods of meditation. You can do focused breathing, perform yoga, or even meditate while walking. Whether meditating before or after a workout, make sure to bring your full attention to the practice, so you can receive the full benefits.
That said, a good starting practice is to take a comfortable seat, either on a chair or the floor, with your hands placed face-up on your knees. Then, take a few deep breaths in and out, before allowing yourself to return to your natural rhythm. How long you should meditate for depends on you, but even a quick five or ten-minute session can be very beneficial.
Conclusion: Exercise And Meditation
By themselves, exercise and meditation deliver many benefits to one’s health. But done hand-in-hand, the pair can balance each other out to give you a more well-rounded practice that trains both the mind and the body, delivering optimal results for both.
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