Many people used to think that meditation was only for religious or hippie types. However, it has been rapidly growing in popularity in recent years among people from all walks of life and all over the world. The main reason for this increase in popularity is likely the numerous benefits meditation offers for both your brain and your body.
Improves Ability to Focus
Meditation is the practice of clearing your brain to focus on a single thought, like your breathing tempo. When other thoughts creep in, the goal of meditation is to push them out to bring your focus back in. With practice, you’ll get better at focusing your thoughts, which will carry over into your daily life as well. By focusing better on what you are doing, you’ll be better able to reap the benefits of exercise during your workouts, as you perform better overall.
Slows Brain Aging
Meditation activates a variety of areas in your brain, particularly those associated with memory and learning. As with any muscle in your body, your brain can achieve the benefits of exercise as well. Although your brain is not technically a muscle, it still grows stronger with regular exercise, and that is exactly what you get from meditation. A stronger brain means you’ll be better able to stave off degenerative brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Today’s world is becoming increasingly fast-paced and stressful, which can be a bit overwhelming at times. Meditation allows you to take a mental step back from the stresses of your daily life, enabling you to maintain calmness, even at your busiest moments. This is one of the key reasons that many people choose to start a meditation practice in the first place.
Boosts Immune System
This may be related to meditation’s ability to lower your stress levels, as stress can wreak havoc on your immune system. Have you ever noticed how you always seem to get sick just when you are the busiest at work? That’s right, stress. When you reduce stress through meditation, you’ll get the added bonus of staying healthier. When you get sick less often, you can spend more time enjoying activities you love and gaining the health benefits of exercise.
Speeds Up Recovery
The recovery boost goes hand in hand with the improved immune system. When your immune system is healthy, it is much easier for your body to heal following injuries or illnesses. It’s a bit difficult to enjoy the benefits of exercise when you are sidelined by injuries, so it is in your best interest to heal quickly. In meditation, you can also focus on the specific areas that need to heal, which may help them to heal faster by directing your body’s healing efforts to where they are needed most.
Lowers Blood Pressure
When you are calm and relaxed, like you are during meditation, your blood vessels are able to open up more fully. This eases the passage of blood through them, effectively lowering your blood pressure. This benefit does not take place only while you are meditating, but rather carries through to the rest of your day as well.
Overall Health Benefits
In addition to the specific benefits outlined above, meditation can make you more likely to make healthier choices in the rest of your life as well. When you start doing one thing that is healthy, it gives you the motivation you need to make other healthy changes in your life, like following a balanced diet or making more of an effort to take advantage of the health benefits of exercise.