When we think about caring for our body, we associate it with exercise and eating healthy. A lot of times we forget that our minds also need care as well. This is where meditation comes in. We explored meditating before or after you run to find how caring for your mind can also benefit your body. The advantages of both are quite interesting from improving focus and reducing negative thoughts to potential helping your body recover.
Meditating Before You Run
Builds your Mental Strength
Mental strength is a big topic we all talk about in the running community, particular when to comes to running half marathons, marathons or ultra marathons. Your mind really does play a critical role in how your perform or how long you go. Once your mind starts to detect pain in the body, it tells you to stop. Being able to keep going in moments of like this is key to finishing a long workout or race.
So how can meditation help with this?
A study showed that meditation is a brief form of mental training, it can help with anxiety along with skills relating to memory, flexible thinking, and self-control. All skills we need when it comes to overcoming obstacles in tough workouts or races.
Another fascinating study had participates meditate for 20 minutes and then do an aerobic exercise for 30 minutes at moderate intensity. The study ended up showing that mixing mediation and aerobic exercise helped reduce depression and rumination. Again helping to train our mind and rid it of negative thoughts, like 'I can't do this' or 'I'm just not good enough'.
The most talked about benefit of meditation is that it makes you more present, which can increase you concentration and focus right before you go out for a run, making it easier for you to focus purely on your workout.
Mediating After You Run
Helps with Recovery
When you exercise, your body is very likely to be under stress, which to leads to a release of the "fight-or-flight" hormone cortisol. Cortisol can be useful to body but at high levels it can also be harmful. A show has shown that meditation can help reduce cortisol levels after a workout, helping to decrease the amount stress on the body.
As we all know endorphins are released when we exercise and they make us feel happy. A study showed that meditation can also help release endorphins in the brain. Endorphins also help us reduce our perception of pain which can help with any post-workout pains or aches. Overall aiding in body recovery.
If you're interested trying out meditation, there are a ton of great apps that guide you through the process. Here's a few that could help get you started:
- Insight Timer