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Mindfulness meditation is considered an essential practice for emotional health but can meditation techniques also help to boost muscle growth and improve our physical toughness?
Well, it out to be obvious that mental awareness is not directly related to gym gains but there are plenty of ways that your meditation practices could lead to gains when combined with your workouts.
Here’s what psychologists and fitness trainers have told us they got from engaging a meditation teacher while working on physical challenges.
Firstly, mental strength is often related to the benefits that we get from any kind of physical activity.
Think about running a marathon. Everyone knows that at some point during that long race, the runner will hit “the wall”. Their stress levels will go up, they may suffer from chronic pain, and the race becomes very hard going, indeed.
Yet, the best runners push through the muscle fatigue and often they do this because they have a more positive outlook in their minds, this is something we can all achieve if we meditate regularly.
In fact, reducing stress through regular meditation is one of the primary purposes of meditation in the first place.
This mental grit, allows us to push on when, perhaps, we might have quit before – when working out, if we push on, we become physically stronger and that’s a genuine benefit of meditation in training sessions.
Transcendental meditation teaches us to learn to breathe. This can be a big deal because many athletes forget their breathing when they work out and this means they’re not optimizing the use of their bodies.
Their parasympathetic nervous system suffers, their muscles may be forced to move from aerobic to anaerobic exercises, and so on.
If you breathe effectively, you can work out more effectively. That means it’s easier to build muscle during personal training sessions because you’re using your body for longer periods of time in the right way rather than inducing unnecessary stress that doesn’t lead to better gains.
Correct breathing also leads to better heart health and even the immune system can get a boost when you decrease anxiety and utilize your muscles efficiently.
Strength training is not just weight lifting, it’s aligning your entire system with your goals, and breathing right is one of the big benefits of meditation, it makes everything work better together.
We should also note that meditation has been proven to lower blood pressure and that makes it much easier to exercise for longer periods of time without risking your health and well-being.
A study of meditating published in Frontiers of Neurological Science drew the surprising conclusion that the brain can better manage pain and endurance if you meditate on a regular basis.
Not only that but it can also help reduce the pain you perceive when carrying out any given activity.
That means if you meditate, you’re better equipped to handle a bit of post-workout pain or the full blown demands of a marathon.
Sports medicine now incorporates meditation not just to reduce stress but also to help the athletes overcome their pain.
The benefits of meditation also include reduced cortisol levels in the bloodstream. Cortisol is the “stress chemical” and thus, regular meditation helps to stave off stress, anxiety, and even depression.
In turn, this allows your body to perform optimally when working out and also in recovery sessions.
If you want to lose weight as you gain these benefits, then you could try Tai Chi which is a form of guided meditation that also has a physical component. This will make you stronger mentally and physically and help you achieve your fitness goals more easily.
A lot of the world’s top athletes use this facet of meditational work to ensure that they face major challenges with a clear mind and are totally focused on meeting the challenges ahead of them.
So, there you have it. While meditating, of course, by itself cannot help you build muscles because it is an exercise of the mind, not the body.
There’s no doubt that by building mental toughness and reaping the other benefits of meditation that you can, in combination with a physical workout, see real improvements when building strength.