Integrating meditation into your day-to-day life can almost be compared to doing a workout. Both are important for a fulfilling life, but is meditation something that should go hand in hand with exercising?
Workout, just like meditation, is a habit you want to integrate into your day-to-day life. So combining the two is more likely to give you the intensified benefits of each practice.
They go well together, and when we think of meditation, we usually see it as something to cool down, and some would see meditation as the opposite of workout out. But this couldn’t be further away from the truth.
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By meditating after exercising, you allow yourself a thorough break, thus, resulting in quicker recovery.
Both require discipline but both yield life-changing results that your body and mind will thank you for over the span of your lifetime. We cannot afford to not exercise or meditate if we want a high quality of life.
If you regularly work out, you’ll likely have an easier time getting into meditation, because you already have the discipline to stick to one thing.
Workout Can Be a Form of Meditation
While by definition, meditation and workout aren’t exactly the same, they can achieve almost every benefit of the other, at least when it comes to the mind.
Exercise can clear your mind, and so can meditation. Sometimes your mind will be filled with things you want to get rid of, and many turn to unhealthy replacements to escape those thoughts. But meditation and workouts are perfect remedies for this.
Another key similarity between meditation and workout is the intense focus you put into your workout, the more focused you are, the more in-tune with the present moment you are.
Mindful exercise can help you enter a flow state where all you want to do is exercise, and while overexerting isn’t necessarily a good thing, the same can’t be said for meditation.
As with meditation, you’re unlikely to suffer any physical pain from the practice. However, meditation combined with exercise could help you push through and work out for longer, but it’s important to not overdo it. You end up with lower levels of stress and higher levels of stamina, it’s the stamina boost that helps you.
Workout can be a relaxing experience, and so is meditation. That is unless you’re doing intensive exercise, but even then, meditating can come in handy.
Should You Meditate Before Or After Exercising?
There are benefits to meditating before and after exercising and depending on the person, some will benefit more from exercising before, whereas others will benefit more from meditating after the exercise, there’s no right or wrong here.
Both are highly recommended when combined together. But we’ll take a look at when it generally makes more sense to meditate before a workout and when it makes more sense to meditate after.
Meditation before exercising can give you the focus you need to keep yourself engaged with the exercise and become more mindful about it.
There’s this idea of deliberate practice, where the more we consciously do something, the higher quality of that activity is. Whether it be exercising or meditating. Now, with exercise, you’ll grow muscles regardless of if you’re focused or not, but focus creates interest and peace.
When you focus on the present, there’s only the now, you operate less like an autopilot robot and you start having more control of your day-to-day activities. The less interested you are in your workout, the less likely you are to continue pursuing it. Same with meditation.
But the major benefit of meditating before exercising is getting this mental performance boost and focus, which can ultimately help you push through workouts you would otherwise feel are tougher.
Keep in mind that meditation is not only about mental preparation but body preparation as well, it synchronizes the two, so in that sense, meditating before a workout prepares you both mentally and physically for an exercise.
I’ve talked about how meditation and workouts go hand in hand, and how it depends on the person whether they chose to meditate before or after, but in what case does it make more sense to meditate after an exercise? If you’re doing a high-intensity exercise, prior to meditating, you’ll want to give yourself proper rest when you’re done.
In many instances, you’ll only be able to achieve deep levels of relaxation through meditation. Meditation helps you to cool down and replenish your energy.
Exercising is like investing that energy and letting it grow like you would invest your money in a stock and letting it grow.
But the big plus of meditation is that it can let you retrieve some of that energy back, ultimately making you feel deeply rested. From there, it becomes easier for you to build muscle. Meditating after you exercise can also speed up the recovery process.
Why Meditation Becomes Easier When You Workout
You can also say that exercise becomes easier when you start meditating, and it’s all because you’re able to build that momentum and stick with something long-term.
How you do one thing will often tell how you do other things. Committing yourself to meditate over the long haul can be compared with committing yourself to exercise long-term.
Now, it’s important to make the practices enjoyable for you to be able to stick through. Both are important if you want to change your life for the better, but the environment where you exercise or meditate can have an impact on how you see the practice.
So if you’re having trouble sticking through with either, try changing your environment. However, when it comes to exercising, just like with meditation, it’s important to set realistic goals.
Don’t set a goal that you’re gonna lift a weight a particular amount of times if you’ve never done it before. Start with what you can, and expand from there.
Do the same with meditation. One discipline feeds on the other. Over time, with consistency, both meditation and exercise will become pleasant and enjoyable for you.
This may require your mind to be reconditioned to adjust what you see as fun and what you don’t see as fun, but meditation allows you to change that in the sense that it can be a tool to rewire your subconscious. Make it enjoyable to change your life and change would practically become effortless.