10 Fitness And Health Benefits Of Meditation And Mindfulness

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The advantages of these zen practices go beyond relaxation—they can help you in the gym, at work, and even in bed.

WE KNOW. YOU’D rather spend your free time careening down a mountain on skiis or a bike, banging out a brutal WOD, or exploring the next great fitness destination than sitting with your eyes closed trying to “turn off” your brain. But meditation—in all its forms and iterations—and mindfulness techniques can actually make you better at your athletic endeavors (click to the next slide to find out how).

Beyond fitness, meditation and mindfulness practices can boost your mental well-being, ward off illnesses minor and major, and even help you sleep better. And that’s not even the half of it.

1. Exercise more—and enjoy it

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sports Psychology found athletes who practice mindful meditation techniques (sitting meditation, mindful yoga, and walking meditation) are far more motivated to exercise regularly and are more satisfied with their workouts than less-mindful guys.

In the study, researchers put 11 archers and 21 golfers through a four-week long “Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement” program to see how it affected their flow (the mental state in which an athlete is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in their sport).

After, the athletes reported feeling less anxiety, pressure to achieve perfectionism, thought disruption, and better confidence, mindfulness, and flow.

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