To improve your physical fitness, you know you have to show up to the gym regularly and work hard. You need to “progressively overload” your body with heavier weights throughout a training cycle, push your limits on conditioning pieces and dial in mobility and nutrition before and after your workout.
What if I told you doing nothing could improve your workout performance more than another training session?
A study from The Journal of Cognitive Enhancement has shown that adding just 12 minutes of doing nothing, in the form of meditation, could positively impact your fitness level, your mindset and your overall performance.
There is tons of research out there supporting all the positive benefits of meditation, mindfulness and simply focusing on intentional breathing. The benefits include:
- Lowering stress
- Reducing anxiety and depression
- Decreasing chronic pain
- And even lessening cancers, heart disease and IBS.
If those enticing reasons weren’t enough to convince you, we now know that it can help your workout performance too…which of course is a big motivator to top the leaderboard or just beat your own personal best!
Exercise is a form of stress on the body.
If you already live a rather stressful lifestyle of always being on the go and overworking yourself, adding this stress can almost be too much on the body and lead to less-than-ideal results as you would hope! However, counteracting that stress with intentional mindfulness can help reduce the stress’ impact on the body and reduce mental stress and fatigue as well that comes with repetitive, intense training.
So, give some mindful meditation a try sometime!
Sit comfortably, close your eyes, stay quiet and focus on your deep breathing.
You can work on counting your breaths (4 count inhale, 4 count hold, 4 count exhale, 4 count hold) or breathe as steady as you can counting the total number of breaths you take in your time (the fewer, the better!).
Start by setting a timer for just 2:00 a few times a week then work on increasing that to 2:30 the next week and 3:00 the following. Build your way up to incorporating at least 12 minutes 2-3 times per week to really take advantage of all the positive benefits of meditation!