Last updated on September 27th, 2022
There is a very old saying, “A healthy mind lives in a healthy body”. This is indeed true and proven scientifically.
Our brain releases hormones known as Endorphins. These hormones are for making us feel happy and joyful. It is found that the proportion of Endorphins in a healthy body is more than in an unfit body. Thus, if you are physically fit, you are giving room for a healthy mind.
For making body healthy good lifestyle and exercise is highly essential. For making a healthy mind, self-control and meditation is the key. Let us explore the power of exercise and meditation for a healthy mind in a healthy body.
The Need for Meditation
Our busy schedules and ever-moving life has a serious impact on our physical health as well as on our mental health. Physical health impacts are visible and we tend to pay attention to them. We still ignore mental health conditions.
Mental illness like depression is rising and today 300 million people suffer from it across the globe. With changing times due to the COVID pandemic, the depression rates are rising. According to WHO India is the 6th most depressed country.
Depression is the leading cause of suicide across the world. In India, the suicide rates are 10.9 per every lakh of people. Research also proves that 80% of the people suffering from depression do not avail of any treatment.
It is thus high time that we pay attention to mental illness and put in efforts for making healthy minds of our people. The best way to deal with depression is self-control and meditation is the key to it.
Regular meditation and a good lifestyle can help by changing the way the brain responds to stress and anxiety.
Depression rates are increasing and India is the 6th most depressed country. Meditation and a good lifestyle are the ways to overcome depression and anxiety.
How Meditation and Brain Reacts
The two major things that trigger depression are stress and anxiety. With meditation, the brain is trained to stay focused and avoid negative thinking when you feel stressed and anxious.
Certain regions of the brain-like the medial prefrontal cortex become more active in depressed people. It is this region where we process information about ourselves like our future life; past life etc. Meditation has an impact on this region and helps in overcoming depression.
Another region of the brain known as the amygdala is the fear center of the body. This region when it senses fear or danger gets activated. This causes adrenal glands to release the hormone cortisol the stress hormone. Meditation helps in controlling the release and makes you stronger.
Meditation also helps in enhancing the memory of the people. People when depressed have less volume of gray matter due to the smaller size of the hippocampus. Hippocampus is the brain area involved in memory. Due to meditation the volume of gray area increases.
Meditation may even help in reducing blood pressure, anxiety, and can even help in fighting pain.
Meditation impacts the brain areas by increasing your focus and eliminating fear and stress. It also helps in increasing good memory.
The balance of Exercise and Meditation
Doing meditation before any physical exercise helps you to relax. It increases your body’s response to physical exercise. It helps you to counter the negative thoughts and reduce stress levels.
Divide the total workout time for meditation and exercise. Start with a 20-minute meditation session. Then move towards a workout routine or aerobic exercises like walking, running, cycling, and swimming Or Zumba Workout.
There are different types of meditation that you can try. You can check the following example of a one-hour routine.
- Breath Awareness Meditation (10 Minutes)
- Stretches (10 Minutes)
- Mindfulness Meditation (10 Minutes)
- Sit-Ups (10 Minutes)
- Zen Meditation (10 Minutes)
- Squats (10 Minutes)
This is a powerful technique where the meditation sessions rejuvenate you for the next sets while keeping you calm and relaxed the whole day.
Meditation & Exercise to overcome Stress
Mindful meditation helps in reducing stress and anxiety. The best-recommended procedure is a diaphragmatic breathing exercise for reducing stress and anxiety. It is as follows:
- Lie down on your back on a smooth surface.
- Support your head with a pillow
- Now bend your knees and place a pillow under your knees.
- Place one hand on the upper chest and one just below the rib cage.
- Now take a deep breath through your nose such that your hand feels the movement of stomach muscles.
- Hold your breath till your muscles of stomach tighten.
- Exhale through lips after few seconds
- Repeat the above steps (5 to 7) for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Perform this breathing exercise thrice a day.
You shall feel relaxed and stress-free.
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Merging exercise with meditation
What if you are not able to sit calmly during meditation? There are lots of people who don’t get into meditation because they just don’t see themselves sitting still for 15-30 minutes. We have good news for you, too.
Meditation is essentially being mindful. Being mindful of your body, the way you breathe, your surroundings, and the thoughts in your mind can help you. You can practice meditation by being mindful while exercising.
What does this mean?
Let’s say you’re on your morning run. Your mind may be full of thoughts. Try to avoid negative thoughts. This can be done by paying attention to your body movement, your muscle movement. Listen to the heartbeats and the way you breathe.
Lookout towards the surroundings and try to notice good things around. For example like the beauty of nature, helping hands, etc. Try to stay positive in your thoughts at all times.
Stop comparing yourself with anybody. Stop caring about how you look when you’re exercising. Just feel relaxed and see how beautifully your mind and bodywork together to give you a sense of peace.
This is not just applicable to running or walking. You can be mindful when performing any physical activity – swimming, stretching, weight lifting, dancing, playing sports even.
Thus, enjoy the beauty of being yourself by knowing yourself.
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Here are a few tips to be mindful of when exercising
- Unplug your earphones/headphones and don’t watch any videos.
- Try to keep yourself away from gadgets for a while.
- Focus your attention on the activity you perform.
- Notice how different parts of your body participate in the activity and the effect the activity causes in them. For example, the stretching of certain muscles.
- Re-focus your attention when you see your mind drifting to other thoughts and things.
- Be grateful for that moment in your day where you can experience oneness between your mind and body.
Meditation and exercise both are just a means to make you feel happy, fit, and moving. Thus, both aim to make us not only healthy but happy.
Can I listen to the music while meditation?
How long I should do any meditation exercise?
Doing 15 minutes of quality meditation is found to be more beneficial.
Is it necessary to close your eyes during meditation?
It is not compulsory to close your eyes. But closing eyes helps in knowing your inner self in a better way. It also increases the focus.
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.