Meditation has become common practice in recent years as its long list of health benefits becomes more widely known. 

But did you know that meditation can also be a useful tool in your fitness routine? Meditating before a workout can help you to relax, improve your focus and gain much needed mental control when exercising. Used post-workout, it can speed up muscle recovery and reduce pain. 

It doesn’t take much to get into a meditation routine; just a few minutes a day, a little patience, some self-acceptance, and a quiet, comfortable place to sit. 

You’ve likely heard about its calming effects, but research shows that there are many physical and mental health advantages that can come with regular meditation. It can give you the emotional strength you need to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle that includes nourishing your body and regular exercise. 

Here are five ways daily meditation can help you achieve your fitness goals.

1. Reduce stress and anxiety

Stress is a known cause of many health problems. Regular mediation can help reduce the inflammation response caused by stress, which can reduce many health issues. Some studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can decrease symptoms of anxiety while increasing positive self-talk. Seeing the positive side of things can help you stay focused, and applying that positive focus to your workouts can be the motivation you need to reach and sustain your fitness goals. When you’re less stressed, you can focus on taking care of yourself, and are more likely to make healthy choices.

2. Increase self-awareness

We all want to be the best version of ourselves, and an important step in that personal growth process is self-awarenessMeditation can help to develop a stronger understanding of self while curbing negative thoughts. When you see yourself clearly and maintain a positive outlookyou are more likely to have a healthy fitness mindset. 

3. Fights addictions and controls food cravings 

Meditation strengthens mental discipline which can increase self-control. This can help people with addictions recognize triggers for addictive behaviour and redirect their attention. Some studies have found that mindfulness meditation can also reduce emotional and binge eating. A healthy amount of self-control can help you enjoy things in moderation and make choices that will benefit your body. 

4. Improves sleep

Sleep troubles are common and can have many negative side-effectsMindfulness meditation gives you more control over your thoughts, which can stop your mind from racing during midnight hours. It helps you relax, which can lead to a more peaceful state of mind, promoting longer and better sleep. When you’re well rested, you’ll feel more energetic to get moving. 

5. Reduces chronic pain

Chronic pain can affect people of all ages. How you perceive pain is connected to your state of mind. Meditation can train your brain to control the pain. When you alleviate pain, you give your body back its ability to move, which may help you start and maintain a regular fitness routine. 

If it’s your first time and you’re a little unsure how it works, MindDEN might be a good place to get started.  Offered in some GoodLife Fitness Clubs, MindDEN provides a quiet space and virtual guided meditation sessions to help you decompress after a workout. The sessions range from 5 to 20 minutes and you can choose your meditation of focus. 

You can also download free mindfulness apps to your smartphone. They will take you through a short, guided meditation of your choice. 

Taking just a few minutes a day to be mindful and centred through meditation can change how you view the world around you and how you take care of your mind and body.