Meditation and running has long been considered only for improving physical health. But the recent studies have shown that the running, along with meditation, will help a lot in preventing or reducing depression.
People who have depression tend to be ruminative thinkers, and they worry a lot. They also tend to have a smaller hippocampus on the brain and it further contributes to the worsening of the symptoms. Recent studies have shown that the meditation when combined with running has a profound effect in increasing the number of cells and the size of hippocampus in the brain.
The study involved 52 participants who underwent the combination of aerobic exercises and meditation for over two sessions per week. At the end of the 8 week study the people who had major depressive disorder reported significantly less depressive symptoms. The study also concluded: “There are two behavioral therapies, aerobic exercise and meditation, which have demonstrated benefits for individuals suffering with depression, are not accompanied by profound side effects and can be practiced across the lifespan.”
Like this, there are many of the studies that have repeatedly proven that meditation, when combined with any form of aerobic exercises like running can reduce the depressive symptoms than that of psychotropic medications. In a world where we think that just by throwing money at the scientist we can invent anything, we have forgotten the benefits that the nature has given to us.
How to combine meditation and running?
As you may have observed the above study demonstrated the benefits of running when combined with meditation for reducing the depressive symptoms. It also concluded that these two activities when combined will have a profound positive effects than that of doing either of the two.
Now the question is, how do you combine meditation and running for maximum effects?
Meditating before running is found to be more beneficial. This sequence carries all the benefits that any form of pre-workout meditation carries. The practice of tuning into the body and breath prior to physical exertion might help increase focus and reinforce your commitment to strengthening and nurturing your entire body. It also helps you to be more mindful while running, which in turn enhances the release of feel good hormones a.k.a endorphins.
Before doing any sort of aerobic exercises whether it be running on a treadmill or cycling, meditating even for 5 minutes is very beneficial for your mental health.
You can do meditation in the form of mindfulness breathing, or a guided meditation with the help of apps like Headspace or SoundCloud. If you are new to meditation I highly suggest you to make use of guided meditation instead of just mindfully focusing on your breath. Because, at the beginning you may find it hard to concentrate on your breath without making your mind to wander.
Many people also suggest to do meditation after working out or running.They tend to get a deep relaxation state. I tried this method and I noticed that after running, my body will be exhausted and I will not be able to concentrate on my breath. In short, for me, the post workout meditation may help but not the post running meditation.
What about meditation during running?
Doing meditation while running is also called mindful running, similar to mindful walking. This concept has gained a lot of buzz in the recent times.
Let me explain you how you can double the benefits of running by doing it mindfully.
While running, rather than just thinking about a random topic just focus on what’s going on with your muscles and in the surroundings (if you are running on a road). Just observe what’s going on in your mind and how you are feeling right now. Also, observe your breathing patterns while running. Try focusing on your foot hitting the floor while running. This kind of non judgmental awareness to the physical and mental sensations while running will help you to double the benefits of running for your health.
This kind of mindfulness practices when adopted in your daily life, helps you a lot in getting rid of those ruminative thoughts about the past or the anxiety about the future. In addition to this, any form of mindfulness practices improve those parts of the brain, especially the pre-frontal cortex that is involved in deep focus and the presence of mind.
Wrapping up: Reading this blog post was a very easy job for you. But implementing the techniques that have mentioned in this blog post is not that easy job. Try to incorporate the techniques that I have mentioned in this blog post mindfully in your life and you can see the great benefits and improvement in your health within few days.
Hope you loved this blog post. Make sure you share your views on this post below.
About the Author: This article has been written by James Hood from FitnessAbout. He is an avid bodybuilder, a proud vegan, God believer, and also tries to cut the crap promoted by mainstream media. He believes in a holistic approach for personal excellence.