Fit Knowledge

5 Health Benefits of Meditation – Connecting the Mind and Body

Find out more about the health benefits of meditation and how they’re connected to your physical fitness right here.  

While by no means a new discipline, meditation and mindfulness has boomed in popularity in the last few years. In fact, research shows that between 2012 and 2017, the number of US adults who meditate tripled [1].

With a history stretching back thousands of years, it’s well known for its ability to help create a peaceful, relaxed state of mind – but can it also benefit your physical performance too? Science says yes, it could.

Let’s take a closer look at how meditation could impact your body.

5 Physical Health Benefits of Meditation

Reduces stress

One of the main health benefits of meditation is to help create head space and reduce the effects of stress and anxiety.

This may sound like something that solely impacts the mind, however cutting down on stress can also have a positive impact on your physical performance in the gym too.

When you’re stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. This can have a catabolic effect on your muscles, which means it can break down your lean mass [2].

In a huge review of 47 individual studies, there was good evidence to suggest that meditation reduced both stress and anxiety [3]. This should help to reduce the levels of cortisol in your body and help to maintain and develop lean muscle.

[Related Article: What is CBD – Health Benefits and Products]

Scales down inflammation

After you’ve been for a workout, your muscles are damaged and inflamed, which contributes to the pain you feel the next day. The quicker you can reduce this inflammation and damage, the fast you’ll feel prepared to hit the gym again.

You may be surprised to learn that there is a very strong connection between your state of mind and your immune system.

Recent research from the center for Health Minds University of Wisconsin found that those who meditated had a much better response to inflammation that those who didn’t. They also said that:

“Experienced meditators reported higher levels of psychological factors associated with wellbeing and resilience. These results suggest that the long-term practice of meditation may reduce stress reactivity and could be of therapeutic benefit in chronic inflammatory conditions [4]

So, while it may not be able to instantly reduce inflammation, by regularly practicing meditation, you should be able to improve your reaction to it.

[Related Article: Is Power the Key to a Longer Life? – New Research Says Yes

Lowers blood pressure

woman meditation - health benefits of meditation

We all know that blood pressure is intrinsically linked to both your mental and physical well-being.

Stress and anxiety can have a direct impact on increasing your bloody pressure, while we know exercise and leading a healthy life can help to control it.

One randomized trial found that meditation can help to lower blood pressure in young adults [5], which goes hand in hand with many people’s fitness goals.

Improves sleep

You’re most anabolic when you’re asleep, which means this is the perfect time for healing and building new muscle.

Research shows you achieve peak muscle protein metabolism while you’re snoozing, which is key to helping you recover quickly and efficiently from your training [6].

Meditation can also help you to fall to sleep more easily and help you to enjoy a better, higher quality slumber [7].

Better focus

A lot of people think meditation is about finding time to do nothing, but it’s more about disciplining and training your brain. As such it can help to improve your ability to focus on one particular thing at a time, clearing the mind and boosting awareness.

While this is something that directly impacts the brain, you may find it can help you to stay focused and work harder in the gym. This is key if you’re not in the mood for a training session, or you feel like motivation is hard to come by.

Why not try out this relaxing practice and start enjoying the physical health benefits of meditation today. Not only do they offer great mental support, they should be able to help you get more out of your workouts and improve your recovery processes too.

Lauren

Lauren is a health and fitness enthusiast, powerlifter and writer who's written for a number of well-known fitness publishing companies.

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