There’s more to fitness than gaining muscle weight, or losing fat. There’s a large aspect of it that is calming, meditative, and relaxing. For me personally, that’s one of the main reasons I workout. Life often brings its stressors (which are natural), and really pushing yourself physically is a great way to release tension.
Here are 7 ways fitness is like meditation:
1. It complements your daily life. Fitness, like meditation, is not something to separate from the rest of your life. It actually adds to it. It gives you energy, focuses and grounds you, and allows you to get back to succeeding at everything else.
2. There’s no “right way” to do it. Everyone meditates differently, and fitness is also different for everyone. For some people, long runs are enjoyable. Others want to sprint hard. And others are just looking to get a workout in. But no matter what way you choose – all that matters is that it works well for you.
3. It improves your heart rate. Meditation is great for calming yourself and lowering your heart rate. Fitness is the same, and those with really excellent cardio often have low heart rates during the day. Even though meditation and fitness have this effect for different reasons – it is still interesting that they both have a similar calming effect on your physical body.
4. It is purely for yourself. While fitness can be competitive, you don’t need to compete with anyone to do it. In fact, fitness, like meditation, can be done purely for yourself. You do it to help yourself, to calm yourself, to improve yourself, and not necessarily to become “better” than anyone else out there.
5. Not enough people do it. Both meditation and fitness are great practices to help us focus on ourselves and take a step away from the day-to-day rat-race. It’s also something not enough people do, and both, if done properly, can help combat bad habits and keep us both mentally and physically strong.
Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what hold you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom. – Buddha
6. You can hit a “zen-like state” from it. An interesting parallel between meditation and working out is that in both, you can hit a “zen like state” from acquiring it. In meditation, it often comes from calmness and relaxation. In fitness, it comes from endorphins rushing to your body creating a “high” feeling.
That’s actually why people get “runners high”, and it’s a big reason many people workout. Often people consider working out to be “all pain”, but you actually feel great doing it as well.
7. You can think while you do it. When I’m doing a cardio workout or something that is not too highly intensive, it gives me a great window of time to ponder. It allows me to focus my thoughts and really get to the bottom of things that have been bothering me or problems that require solutions.This is the same with meditation, where you can relax yourself and allow yourself to calmly assess the things you need to/want to change or fix in your life.
Meditation here may think down hours to moments. Here the heart may give a useful lesson to the head and learning wiser grow without his books. - William Cowper
Ultimately, while meditation and exercising are different activities, they share many similarities. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons many people who are into “zen” are also into exercise. For many people, both meditation and exercising definitely carry a spiritual component as well. It is not entirely about strengthening yourself physically.
Now, while they both be different - both meditation and exercise are excellent ways to allow yourself to regain your energy, find your center, and give yourself strength to properly channel your energy to help you overcome challenges and get more out of life!