This won’t be the first time you’ve heard of meditation. It’s everywhere these days, thanks to the multitude of scientific studies that have come out in recent years providing evidence of the benefits it offers.
But how does meditation impact physical performance? Well, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, athletes that practice meditation daily, even for just twelve minutes, become better equipped to handle the mental demands that come with hours of physically challenging training.
We take a closer look at how meditation can improve athletic performance, as well as several other aspects of your life.
1. It helps improve focus
In the world of competitive sports, your ability to maintain focus, even in the face of internal or external distractions, can mean the difference between making or missing that shot and winning or losing the game.
That’s the reason why athletes are given a chance to get used to possible external distractions such as cheering crowds and bright lights, by practicing in a simulated setting.
But what about internal distractions? That’s where meditation can help. It’s been shown to help people focus their attention and sustain it. No matter what sport you play, you can always benefit from improved focus.
2. It can enhance endurance
To develop your physical performance, you need to improve endurance. Meditation can help your body to work longer and harder, in part by reducing your sensitivity to pain. Try meditation that not only practices breathing exercises, but also incorporates visualization techniques, so you can focus on achieving a particular goal or objective.
3. It reduces stress
If you want to be at the top of your game, then stress reduction is key. Stress can affect your ability to remain calm under pressure and keep your focus, which can, in turn, impact your confidence and ability to maintain a positive mindset.
Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and lower cortisol levels. It involves taking deep breaths, which helps slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure, allowing your body to relax and decompress.
4. It improves sleep
Practicing meditation has a positive effect on your sleep quality, which is important because the quality of sleep you get, as well as the quantity, plays a big role in athletic performance. A lack of sleep has been linked to increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol, low energy, poor focus, and slow recovery post-game.
5. It strengthens your immune system
Your health will undoubtedly have an impact on your physical performance, so if you can use meditation to strengthen your immune system, why not? Meditation has other health benefits, including improvement of well-being and reduction in psychological distress.
6. It helps us recognize our blind spots
To enhance your physical performance, you need to know where your blind spots are. Mindfulness can help you better understand your true self, minus any positive or negative bias. By recognizing your blind spots, you can focus your attention on the areas where you need the most improvement.