Guest Post: How to Combine Meditation with Workouts for Better Health Posted on January 10, 2018 | by Physique 57 Dwayne Austin is a multi-faceted author, blogger & fitness instructor from Indiana, US, and associate with Consumer Health Digest and Performance Insiders. He encourages people to live a healthy lifestyle. Connect with Dwayne via Facebook and Twitter. Mens sana in corpore sano. The Latin phrase teaches us that healthy mind and healthy body go together hand in hand. In order to improve our health and make wiser lifestyle choices, many of us decide to exercise regularly, but it’s possible to gain even more benefits by combining physical activity with meditation. How do they work together? Scroll down to see why a combined approach of exercise and meditation is the best thing you can do for your overall health right now. Meditation and Exercise A combination of meditation and physical activity gives you the best of both worlds. Meditation is an ancient practice wherein an individual focuses his/her mind on a particular object, activity, or thought to reach a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Most people find it easier to focus on their breaths while meditating. Meditation balances your body’s needs and maximizes physical stamina to get as much as possible from your workouts. Regular exercise is vital for good health and wellbeing. Our body has to move in order to stay healthy. A sedentary lifestyle is linked to obesity, joint pain, and many other health problems. Introducing more exercise into your life is a great way to improve your mood, boost confidence, get more energy, and protect your body from negative health outcomes. As you can see, both meditation and exercise have a lot to offer; and combining them is a great way to get even more benefits. More Stamina When you start working out, you want to do as much as possible without getting tired too fast. The goal is to get the most out of your workout, but to achieve it your stamina has to improve. Meditation is one of the best natural ways to increase stamina. Why? The ancient practice allows the mind to go deep into an altered state of consciousness to create a necessary environment for mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Depression Relief Millions of people in the US and worldwide suffer from depression indicated by a persistent feeling of sadness, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, and other mental and physical symptoms. A combined approach of exercise and meditation can help you overcome depression, which is yet another reason to include both in your lifestyle. Meditation promotes mindfulness and healthy lifestyle choices, and it’s useful to make it an inevitable part of your lifestyle. Remember, you don’t have to meditate for hours. For beginners, even 10 minutes of meditation is enough to relax their mind. As you’re getting used to the idea of meditation, you can try to do it for up to 30 minutes. It all comes down to your needs. Prostate Health As men age, they are more susceptible to prostate enlargement or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis or inflammation of the gland, and many other problems. Both exercise and meditation support prostate health, thus improving your quality of life. Studies show that mindfulness alleviates stress and anxiety. This is important because stress negatively affects the prostate gland. For men who already have BPH, stress worsens symptoms such as painful urination, the urgency to urinate, the frequency of urination, and others. In men who don’t have BPH, stress can deplete levels of zinc and contribute to enlargement of the gland. Furthermore, a growing body of evidence confirms that men who are physically active have a lower risk of developing BPH. A combination of mindfulness meditation and exercise can be a wonderful strategy to support prostate health and avoid problems that affect men as they age. Muscle Building Combining exercise and meditation can improve muscle building. Toned, perfectly defined, and bigger muscles are the goal most people want to achieve through workouts, but you’ve never thought adding meditation to the mix could be beneficial. How does meditation help? Well, it lowers stress, improves stamina, and balances your hormones including GH (growth hormone) necessary for muscle building. In one study, men who meditated produced more growth hormone than their counterparts who practiced other relaxation techniques. Combine two approaches to define muscles faster than you thought. Recovery After every workout, regardless of its intensity, the body needs to recover. Meditation can help with that and, thereby, reduce the risk of injury. This ancient practice allows you to stay calm and improves the ability to ignore distractions while exhibiting positive effects on the nervous system. All these factors are important for recovery. Meditation allows you to train your mind just like physical activity trains your body. It has a number of health benefits that improve your quality of life. Also, meditation helps you recover from injury by changing the perception of the circumstances of trauma or event and it allows the mind to deal with pain more effectively. It teaches you not to focus on pain and reduces its intensity. For every active individual, proper recovery is vital for better results. Should I Meditate Before or After a Workout? Combining meditation and exercise is easy; you can either meditate prior to or after your training. There is no “one size fits all” rule here, you can choose the approach that you find more convenient. Meditating prior to workout allows you to relax and stretch your muscles. At the same time, you can improve focus and control that are much-needed when working out. On the other hand, meditating after a workout reduces cortisol levels which tend to elevate when you’re exercising. Also, post-workout meditation improves recovery and reduces pain. A study whose findings were published in the Translational Psychiatry revealed that participants who meditated for 30 minutes and trained cardio for 30 minutes reported significantly less depressive symptoms and ruminative thoughts. Those who combined meditation and exercise twice a week for eight weeks experienced a 40% reduction in depressive symptoms, truly impressive. Conclusion A combined approach of meditation and exercise supports your health and maximizes results from daily workouts. Stress management, muscle building, better mood, prostate health are just some of many benefits you can expect when meditating prior to or after a workout.