Meditation and the concept of mindfulness are no longer a practice of monks and yogis. Today, CEOs to stay-at-home moms are integrating meditation into their lives. Just being able to sit and clean out your chakra or get a fresh outlook of life is intensifying at the very least.
Whether you should meditate before or after a workout is essential and confusing from many angles. Keep in mind that the physical exercise of yoga (asana) invigorates the body before meditation. However, for anyone into regular high-intensity workouts, you may be wondering whether it’s more beneficial to meditate before a workout or after a workout.
I’ve done both meditation types, and I can tell you there are distinct benefits in both aspects. But first, let me get the meditation vs. exercise debate out of the way.
Meditation Vs. Exercise
If I were to bet between meditation and exercise for my mental health, I’d go with meditation followed by a bout of workout. And this is because I’ve sat through pain, controlled my urge to speak first and think later, and I no longer allow emotion to take control over reason.
To this end, meditation is more effective at pain-related bothers, and it has always been the best foundation for a healthy mindset.
However, this doesn’t mean that working out isn’t helpful for mental health.
Exercise is more effective when it comes to physical health and improving your quality of life. It lowers blood sugar levels bad cholesterol, improves heart health, and stimulates the production of feel-good hormones.
Combine meditation and exercise, and you have two things that work so well together. While exercise helps us increase the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain, meditation activates the nervous system part associated with calming down.
What I’m saying is that while you can choose one or the other, practicing both exercise and meditation makes the results more powerful.
Benefits of Meditating Before a Workout
Meditation before working out has its set of benefits. When I’m too lazy to get out of bed to exercise, I relate it to being mentally exhausted. I choose to meditate to push relax the brain and push the body to work out.
Here are some of the things I’ve found happen when you meditate before a workout.
Makes the Workout Much Better
Tired muscles are easier to notice and relax right after meditation. Thus, I feel far more focused and in sync with specific exercises targeting the tired muscles. My mind is also clear because I’ve just woken up, so it allows me to concentrate on the sets.
The same happens when you want to go from a mind full of chatter to one that’s focused on exercising. You’ll find that you can maintain the proper form and clear your mind from anxiety when reaching the high maxes.
When I meditate before exercise, I notice a significant increase in the intensity of my workouts. You get into a state of utmost relaxation, and you’re self-aware of your body. What seems like a cap where you can’t go beyond a specific routine now seems attainable. In other words, you can lift more and get better at an exercise that proves challenging.
Everyone at some point feels like they are too anxious to start and complete an exercise. However, upon meditation, your anxiety is significantly reduced. It also gives your brain lots of oxygen-rich blood, so all those kinks and knots are temporarily stretched out.
Relax and Stretch your Muscles
A tense back or neck can hinder exercise. But with meditation, you can focus your attention on the muscles and get them to relax. Doing this also decreases the chances of injury during a workout.
Benefits of Meditating After a Workout
Post-exercise meditation has the following benefits.
Cool Down for The Brain
So, you’ve kicked ass, and you have all that energy soaring through your body after training. Why don’t you get your brain to calm down with meditation? At this moment, you’re taking a moment to acknowledge that you’ve worked out, and you’re now coming down from that high.
In addition, you’re filled with gratitude for showing up regardless of how well you did or didn’t do your exercise.
Improves Recovery and Reduces Pain
Stabilizing your mind after exercise helps your body get into the recovery process much faster. It also aids the release of endorphins that help reduce pain. Meditation is beneficial for anyone that experiences recurring injuries since your brain learns new and better ways of coping with pain.
Decrease Levels of Cortisol
Meditation can decrease the stress hormone cortisol levels, which might increase during some form of workout. This is because your body is under physical stress when working out. However, after training, you want to return to a state of calm and relaxation, and meditation helps get you there faster.
Rest the Body
If exercising makes you feel like you’ve just had the air knocked out of your lungs, then you will benefit from post-workout meditation. This is because it helps you sit in a state where you can completely forget about your mind and body. When you meditate in this state, it rejuvenates your system, and you emerge with renewed energy.
Greater Physical and Mental Health Benefits
After your body is exhausted, meditation utilizes focused breathing to reduce your heart rate and respiration. The results are stress reduction on your body and mind. It reduces any stress that may have buildup during an exercise and promotes the feeling of peacefulness and well-being.
Meditating Before A Workout or After, Which Is Better?
Meditation before and after exercise has different benefits. It all depends on your goals since one may want to exercise with a calm mind while another person will want to relax after training. Hence, it’s best to decide on your goal and meditate accordingly.
Meditation is complementary to exercise in that it helps you get the most out of your workouts. Including meditation in your regime gives you powerful results as you can get ready to push your limits or recover from exertion.
As long as you do it consistently and match it with your goals, it will help improve your being.