We’ve known that meditation is beneficial for a long time. The practice has been around for a long time, and countless people have used it to melt stress, become more present, and learn to control their emotions better.
But have you ever thought about what would happen if you mix meditation with exercise? For example, what if you began using meditation as a practice to cool down after training?
What is a Cool Down, And Why Do We Need One?
A cool down is precisely what it sounds like:
A period dedicated to calming your body after strenuous activity, such as lifting weights. There are numerous ways to cool down, the most popular of which is static stretching.
The purpose of a cool down is to reduce nervous system activity, bring about a sense of relaxation, and help you transition into a state of recovery.
What Is Meditation, And What Benefits Does It Offer?
Meditation is an ancient practice during which individuals attempt to achieve mindfulness. When done correctly, meditation is a fantastic way to calm yourself down, melt stress, and improve your sense of well-being.
A common way to practice meditation is to close your eyes and start taking deep breaths. The objective is to clear your mind of thoughts about the past, present, or future. Instead, you should focus on existing in the moment, detached from issues, errands, and emergencies.
One misconception about meditation is that you have to achieve a state of a blank mind––not thinking about anything for a specific period. While that might be possible for advanced practitioners, beginners would be better off observing thoughts as they occur and allowing them to pass without going down the rabbit hole. Over time, your mind will become calmer, and you might even reach a state of pure bliss.
What Makes Meditation The Perfect Cool Down Activity
Meditation is the perfect post-training activity because it instills relaxation and mindfulness. As a result, nervous system activity goes down, and the body can more easily enter a state of ‘rest and digest.’
Meditating after training can also be beneficial for reducing the production of catecholamines––hormones with a strong impact on the nervous system. As a result, we might find it easier to wind down after strenuous exercise and fall asleep more easily.
Similarly, meditation can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. As such, the practice can improve recovery rates by preventing cortisol from accelerating muscle protein breakdown. While we certainly need more research to conclude, it appears that meditating after training can promote recovery.
Aside from these effects, meditating after training can be incredibly beneficial because it can be easier to clear our minds and achieve a state of bliss. Endorphins flood the body after exercise, bringing about feelings of ease and euphoria. Leveraging them can make for more effective meditation sessions.
How to Start Meditating After a Workout Session
Here is the great news:
Meditating after a workout is as straightforward as it gets, and you don’t need any fancy tactics. All you have to do is finish your workout, sit down in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing for a while.
Don’t try to block thoughts. Instead, allow them to pass naturally without going down the rabbit hole. The more you practice meditation, the easier it will be to achieve bliss.