Why Meditation Should Be Your Next Workout

You come to the gym to work your body, because you know you are improving your physical health with each run, lift, squat, and curl. Regular exercise not only helps you feel and look better, it's got a long list of benefits that have been scientifically proven: it's good for your muscles and bones, it improves your heart health, helps with weight loss, lowers your risk of diabetes and stroke, and increases your energy--just to name a few.

What if we told you that exercising your brain has important health benefits, too?

At this point, you may be tempted to argue that your brain gets plenty of exercise--it's running at high speed from the time you wake up to the time you fall asleep! Well, we're talking about a very specific form of brain training known as meditation.iStock-903617266

Recent studies at Harvard University's Lazar Lab have confirmed what yogis have been trying to tell us for years: meditation reduces stress, fosters clear thinking and increases our capacity for empathy and compassion. In fact, there's evidence to suggest that that meditation may slow down the age related atrophy of certain areas of the brain. The combination of stress reduction and slowing the brain's natural aging process has some important side benefits to your physical wellness. These include:

  • Lowering high blood pressure
  • Lowering the levels of blood lactate, reducing anxiety attacks
  • Decreasing tension-related pain, such as, tension headaches, ulcers, insomnia, muscle and joint problems
  • Increasing serotonin production that improves mood and behavior
  • Improving the immune system
  • Increasing the energy level, as you gain an inner source of energy

In addition to these physical payoffs, the clarity that comes with meditation can increase your creativity and productivity, develop your intuition, improve your self-awareness and acceptance, and promote emotional stability. All of these traits happen to be extremely valuable in the work force, so it's not a stretch to say that along with the physical and emotional benefits of meditation, you could eventually experience financial benefits, as well!

Convinced? If you'd like to try meditation, we encourage you to join in on one of our yoga classes, which always include meditation practices. During our celebration of Zentember (September is National Yoga Month), we're offering a chance to participate in a yoga and guided meditation workshop. Just in case you want to try meditating on your own, here's a helpful guide for beginners.