Currently, within the United States, improving physical fitness and overall levels of health is largely regulated to two different primary elements; physical exercise and dietary intake. Yet, to simply focus on only these two elements of physical well being is to do a disservice to what is essential to living a healthy, fit, and truly fulfilled life.
This section of our website is intended to shed light on a part of fitness that is often overlooked by many individuals seeking a healthier lifestyle. More specifically, the obtainment of sound mental health, stability, and wellness. To this end, it is important to understand that mental stability and well being of an individual is subject to disease and entropy, just as the body is.
This being said, when compared to physical and nutritional health, mental health and wellness is equally important. Hence, to truly live a lifestyle that is filled with good health and fitness, individuals must include achieving mental wellness as well.
One approach to ensuring mental balance and wellness that can be utilized, and has been for thousands of years, is the practice of meditation. While meditation can be, and often is, practiced independently, it can be paired with several other exercise types including Yoga and Pilates.
The deep and soothing breaths associated with meditation are often successful in the improvement of air flow and increasing of lung capacity. A recent wind musician's survey showed that meditation was able to increase lung capacity by 5% in only two weeks of regular practice.
Origin of Meditation
The earliest records of meditation date back to 50,000 years ago. The practice of meditation originally developed as a ritual involved in a number of different religions. In fact, almost every major religion utilizes meditation in one form or another, from Hinduism to Christianity. Throughout time, however, the practice of meditation has evolved and has found a place outside of the realm of religion. This is most likely because people became aware of the vast array of benefits that meditation can provide a person even when it is void of any religious implications.
Although Meditation and Yoga are very closely related, Meditation as a formal and separate practice did not arise until much later, a little more than 5,000 years ago (actual recorded writings about Meditation). Granted, people have likely been practicing some form of meditation since the beginning of their existence. Any time that you take some time out to gather your thought or get some fresh air to clear your mind, you are technically using meditation to relax and focus your mind.
Terms and Concepts Associated with Meditation
The following terms are often used to describe the concetps associated with meditation. From their original eastern roots, they each have special significance within the practice of meditation.
Health, Fitness, and Mental Well-Being Benefits of Meditation
There are many benefits, physically, mentally, and for some individuals, spiritually, that are often associated with the regular practice of meditation. Many individuals practice meditation as the primary approach to exercising and enriching their minds while others prefer to think of meditation as a way to supplement other activities that are directed towards calming and centering their minds.
When putting together a comprehensive health and fitness routine that is intended to promote a well rounded approach to living a healthy overall lifestyle it is important to include a portion of your routine that supports good mental health and wellness.
This being said, no matter what your primary objective is in regularly meditating, the following health and wellness benefits have been well documented. Below are a few of the physical and mental benefits associated with consistently making meditation a part of your daily lifestyle:
- Reduces Stress-Related Occurances and Pain Associated with Headaches
Meditation has often been shown to reduce or eliminate the pain associated with headaches and, in some instances, migraines. In addition, regular and consistent meditation also been clinically proven to reduce headaches brought on by elevated levels of stress and anxiety.
- Support Successful Weight Loss Efforts
Individuals that are trying to lose weight may find meditation to be particularly helpful. In fact, several medical studies have successfully showed that regularly meditating was effective in both the control of ideal weight levels and the revamping of lost motivation and/or focus. Additionally, individuals that routinely meditate may also find that they are better able to control their food cravings and their bouts with "binge eating".
- Improvements in Memory and Cognative Function
By relaxing and calming the brain, meditation has often been shown to increase memory, and the clarity of memory, in the individuals that have participated in clinical studies. In fact, early tests have been promising in the use of meditation along with prescription drugs for the reduction or delay of Alzheimer's related type diseases.
- Promotes and Supports Complex Problem Solving
Meditation has been proven to be beneficial in dealing with minor problems and/or resolving day to day issues by reducing the probability of allowing them to propagate into more drastic measures that, in many cases, are unnecessary. This ability to truly promote clear and rational thinking allows individuals to think through a variety of everyday situations and may even reduce the anxiety that oftentimes leads to even more stress and/or additional problems.
- Supports Mental Clarity and Focus
Countless clinical studies have concluded that regular and consistent meditation allows an individual's brain to achieve an active state of mental focus and clarity. This, in turn, has been shown to improve attention span, elevate academic test scores, and increase comprehension and understanding.
What You Will Find in the Meditation Section of Our Website
The following pages and articles included under this section of our website are intended to shed light on the importance of adding a form of meditation to your overall health and fitness regime. Furthermore, our goal is to provide a comprehensive outline of all of the various elements involved in the practice of meditation.
This includes a detailed description of the various health and wellness benefits that meditation can provide. In fact, there are countless clinical studies that have proven the effectiveness of regularly performing meditation and the health benefits associated with doing so.
You will be able to use the information provided on the following pages and articles to implement a meditation routine into your lifestyle. This being said, it is important to train your mind with the same kind of persistence and dedication that you would train the body as mental and physical well being is the key to a fulfilling life.