Meditation has been linked to numerous benefits, including decreased anxiety and stress as well as improved memory and focus. However, many people find it difficult to set aside the time to sit quietly, avoid distractions, and meditate. Fortunately, running offers another means of reaping the benefits of meditation for those who grow restless at the thought of sitting still.
Benefits Of Meditating While Running
The concept of adding meditation may not be surprising to anyone who has ever lost themselves in the “zone” while running. The natural rhythm of running lends itself well to the concept of focusing and calming the mind. More importantly, meditating while running actually enhances the benefits of both.
Studies have shown that the combination of running or walking with meditation can decrease symptoms of depression by 40 percent. Meditating during workouts has also been linked to additional weight loss, reduced body fat, and lower blood pressure. Furthermore, MAP training, or the combination of mental and physical training, has been found to be more beneficial to overall mental health than relying on just one or the other.
Even knowing all the benefits, some people may wonder how to get started on their own. Although there are plenty of apps and courses available, it can be fairly easy to begin incorporating mindfulness techniques into your workout.
Meditation consists of drawing your attention to a single focus, something that can easily be achieved during a run. Runners can choose to focus on their breath, or select a mantra that can be synced to the sound of their feet hitting the pavement. They can pay close attention to their surroundings, allowing themselves to become fully present in the movement. They can also focus on their posture and movements, which is not only meditative but beneficial in avoiding injuries.
Just like running, meditation requires constant and consistent training. Try new techniques to find what works best for you, remembering that there is no single right way to meditate. Start small, focusing on short time frames at first, and gradually building yourself up to the full duration of the run. Maintain your runner’s mindset to achieve your goal, knowing that eventually you will discover what works best for your body and mind.
In doing so, you will reap the numerous physical and psychological benefits that come from the combination of meditating while running.