The benefits of a regular meditation practice are widespread: from stress and anxiety relief, emotional balance, and better sleep to overall improved health. And now, new research points to it as a way to improve workouts and athletic performance as well.
According to Shape Magazine, meditation can improve pain tolerance, which as anyone knows, is kind of crucial to amping up a workout routine or during an athletic competition. You know that saying: no pain, no gain. But it doesn’t say there’s anything wrong with slightly muted pain, thanks to meditating. Score.
Plus, meditation can help athletes with visualization, which is not something only professional athletes can benefit from. If you’re working on a new yoga pose, training for a marathon or just simply taking a tougher Spin class, using your meditation to help you visualize yourself succeeding can lead to better performance results.
Shape also reports that people who practice Transcendental Meditation, a form of mindfulness meditation, show similar brain functioning traits with elite athletes. So, while a regular meditation practice might not turn you into the next Serena Williams, it can get you a lot closer.
And here’s another benefit, according to Shape, “meditation can also help give you the motivation to hit the gym when you're not in the mood, give you the confidence you need to try a difficult yoga pose, or crank the treadmill speed up a notch or two.”
Who doesn’t need a little bit of motivation now and again?
Of course, the other benefit to meditation improving your athletic performance is that it gets you moving. Inactivity—even for people who regularly exercise—has been connected to higher risks of developing heart disease and diabetes. It’s also linked to an early death. So, while you should certainly be seated for your meditation, make sure you use that good momentum to get up and start moving as soon as possible.
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