Hello! Hello!! HAPPY Monday :D
How are you? How was your weekend?! I just got back from Southern California and I'm super glad it's the beginning of another week! What is it about road trips and food?! :D It feels like I gained 5 pounds over the weekend...lol!!! I'm home now and I plan on burning those extra calories baby!!!!
Today's post is on Meditation. Do you meditate? Or do you feel that it's just not for you?! I've done meditation in the past but I really jumped in the game recently and I absolutely LOVE this powerful practice! I'm finding that when done daily, meditation has life-changing benefits!!
Meditation is also vital to maximizing your workout. It makes you not only calmer and happier but also stronger. Meditation can be done anytime and anywhere, even on a commute if you have 5 minutes to focus on your breath. I could post a book on meditation but I'm going to keep it short ;) I found the following article in Shape Magazine and want to share it on here. NOTE...even though the article was published in Shape Magazine, doesn't mean that meditation is for women only! Men meditate too!! I know a few men who meditate and can I just say that they're Rock Stars :D
GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME
Article by: Clint Carter
There's more to meditation than simply chilling out and you'd be smart to use its powers to make your mind and body fitter. In fact, recent research in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that just a few weeks of meditation can thicken your brain stem and increase your gray matter. This makes it increasingly clear that the mental exercise strengthens your brain and nervous system the same way lifting weight strengthens your muscles--with practice and consistency.
That's likely why meditation is becoming so popular with athletes looking for an edge. In a study published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, college football players who spent 12 minutes or more a day doing mindfulness meditation had better attention skills after a month of grueling preseason training than those who practiced for less time. Meditation also helps you stay calm under pressure: "Being present and focusing on breathing helps me when I'm anxious about a game," says Atlanta Dream point guard Layshia Clarendon, who meditates before warming up for WNBA games. "Understanding that you can relax your body even when things are tough--that really helps you rise to the moment."
So are you ready to elevate your mind and boost your body in just minutes a day? Here's everything you need to know.
- It's a cinch to plug in.
A guided-meditation app (there are more than 3,900 available; we like Headspace) or a trained instructor (search for venues at meditationfinder.com) can help you get started. Eventually you may decide to do it on your own. Clear your mind by directing all your attention to your breath, says Laurie Cameron, a mindfulness coach and the author of the upcoming The Mindful Day. "Focus on the air coming into the body and then going out." Begin with five-minute sessions a day and after a month or so, scale up to 10 minutes or more, Cameron says. "It's just like working out: Whatever you put into it, you'll get out of it."
- Your focus will become sharper.
By strengthening your prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain used for planning and decision-making, meditation makes it easier to lock in on what you're doing in the moment, Cameron says. "So when you're playing tennis or trying to keep the beat in dance cardio class, you can actually sustain your attention," she says. In fact, a study from the International Journal of Psychophysiology last year found that long-term meditators were less than half as likely to make mistakes on computerized tests designed to assess focus. "You're creating new neural pathways that help you stay in the moment," Cameron says. "And that can improve your performance."
- You'll push past your limits.
It's that last rep, the final lap in the pool or mile on the trail, that's always a killer. But harnessing your brainpower can help you cut through the discomfort. As evidence, in one study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, meditators felt an electric shock as 22 percent less painful than nonmeditators did. The reason? "The meditators turned down the part of their brain that judges and tries to control the pain. Instead, they were able to view it with a relaxed, nonjudging attitude," says study author Sara Lazar, Ph.D., a Harvard Medical School professor and an associate researcher in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. "There's a lot that the mind can do if we train it, and by meditating, you can learn to deal with pain in a new way."
- You'll gain workout willpower.
"Mindfulness is really powerful in that moment right before you decide whether to run that extra mile, stay through class, or swim five more laps," Cameron says. By acknowledging the itch to quit and instead taking a breath to let the impulse pass, you are creating a space to make a better choice--one that gets you some progress. "It's such a huge payoff and it's why we're having a mindfulness revolution," she says.
* End of article.
What do you think of the article? Are you interested in giving meditation a try? I always thought that meditators were hippies, monks, or gurus you'd find in a cave in the Himalayas...lol! I never realized how un-weird meditation actually is until I started doing it myself!! There are many benefits and this isn't just hype, it's been scientifically proven! Meditation makes you calmer, happier, stronger, and anyone can do it!!
Have a productive week! I'll be right back here on ThursYAY!! Bye ;)
Pamela Stewart, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Specialist