3 Big Reasons Why You Should Meditate After Your Workout | Yuri Elkaim (2023)

3 Big Reasons Why You Should Meditate After Your Workout | Yuri Elkaim (1)

In this article hide

1 What Is Meditation?

2 What Type Of Meditation Should You Use?

3 The Benefits of Post-Workout Meditation

4 Post-Workout Meditation Made Easy

People tend to be a bit lopsided when it comes to fitness – which is unfortunate.

For instance, they might be totally into strength training and ignore any sort of endurance work.

Or, more commonly, you may encounter (or be) the type who is really good about taking care of their strength and endurance but never stretches.

The point is that there are aspects of fitness and avenues of exercise that commonly go underused and under appreciated. Chief among these, especially in the United States, is mindfulness training or meditation.

In fact, many people aren’t sure how to begin meditating or even what exactly meditation is.

So, let’s take this topic apart a little bit and pinpoint the benefits of meditation – especially post-workout meditation, which has special importance when it comes toworkout recovery.

What Is Meditation?

At its most basic form, meditation is a state of having a cleared mind. In essence, the goal (if there is one) is to allow your mind to be free of thought.

This can obviously be a difficult state for most of us to maintain for any length of time but it’s one of the best things you can do for your overall health.

Of course, it does get more complicated than that when you get deeper into the subject.

There are numerous types of meditation. You can do guided meditations, sit in silence, meditations that focuses on mantras or the breath, or even do movement-based meditation such as yoga.

What Type Of Meditation Should You Use?

With all these different styles – and with all of their accompanying different schools of thought – how do you know which type of meditation you should use?

You should do the type that works best for you.

That’s not a copout. It’s just that after investigating different forms of meditation, you might find that there are a few that you like and can incorporate into your life, depending on the situation.

For example, it might be easyfor you to settle into a physical, active form of meditation like yoga while you’re at home or in the gym.

But what if you’re feeling overwhelmed while confined to your desk at work or sitting in traffic? Then you might prefer a more passive form of meditation, in which you simplyrelax and focus on your breathing for a few minutes.

Remember, the goal of meditation is to quiet your mind, which has a beneficial impact on calming your body as well.If you find a particular meditative practice too clunky or you get distracted by all of the rules, it’s probably not going to get you to acleared-mind statevery efficiently.

The Benefits of Post-Workout Meditation

The mental and neurological benefits of exercise – which are numerous – have been extremely well-documented.

But when it comes to meditation, some studies have found that a regular practice can help change the way that your brain is structured, creating changes that last even when you aren’t meditating (1).

Which is really cool.

But the benefits of meditation can also be used to improve your physical performance and influence the way your body responds to exercise. Pretty impressive, right?

Here are three important reasons why you should meditate after your workouts on a regular basis.

1. Reduced Cortisol

Even though we always think about exercise being good for your body, the truth is that it puts your system through an enormous amount of stress.

Generally, though, this stress is exactly what we want – sending signals to your brain that you need to adapt by getting stronger and faster so that your workout isn’t so challenging the next time.

The problem, however, is that whenever your body is stressed, it produces thehormone cortisol. At low levels, cortisol is an extremely useful hormone, improving your mood, protecting your cells against stress, and even assisting fat loss to some degree.

But when there’s too much cortisol in your system for too long, things start to change. Instead of burning fat, your body interprets the abnormally high cortisol levels as a sign that something is wrong with the outside world. Emergency measures go into place.

As a result, you feel mentally clouded, your immune response is compromised, your body experiences more inflammation and – most famously – you begin to store abdominal fat.

Here’s the thing about cortisol, though: Your body can’t tell the difference between various forms of stress. Thatmeans your cortisol reacts the same way whether somebody cuts you off in traffic or you’re dealing with a deadline at work or you’re pushingthrough a particularly difficult workout.

Taken as part of a big picture, then, it’s easy to see how your cortisol levels can quickly get out of control.

Meditation can help guard against that. Based on the long-accepted fact that meditation lowers feelings of stress, researchers in Thailand theorized that it might do that by controlling serum levels of cortisol. Fortunately, that’s a pretty easy thing to test.

So test they did. After just four days of meditation, all of the subjects saw a significant decrease the amount of cortisol kicking around their system (2).

That’s why engaging in some post-workout meditation can be a big part of your recovery.

2. Reduced Pain

Regardless of where exactly you feel it on your body, pain is a fairly complex sensation, with a powerful but all-too-often-ignored emotional component.

In theory, controlling your mind should give you greater control over any pain you might encounter.And, according to a fascinating 2015 study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, it does this with incredible efficiency (3).

Using the somewhat sinistermethod of poking their volunteers (read: victims) with a heated probe while asking them to use a variety of pain-control methods,scientistscompared meditation with other potential tools.

Specifically, the subjects were placed in four groups, each with different methods of dealing with pain: meditation plus the opioid-blocker naloxone; non-meditation control plus naloxone; meditation plus saline placebo; or non-meditation control plus saline placebo. The subjects rated their pain on a sliding scale.

Interestingly, both meditation groups saw a huge reduction in perceived pain – even those that were on the opioid blocker. This means that meditation reduces pain by somewhat nontraditional means, since opioids are common painkillers for the brain, whether they’re produced internally or come from an external source.

Post-workout meditation, then, can help to reduce feelings of pain your workout may leave you with.

3. Improved Recovery

With your cortisol levels under control and your pain naturally managed, your body can focus on what’s really important immediately after exercise: recovery.

Pain, inflammation and elevated feelings of stress can all get in the way of your body recovering from both the stresses of your work and those of daily life.

And remember: All of the positive effects of exercise happen from that recovery. Ensuring that your body is fully recovered, then, is one of the best ways possible to make your workouts more effective.

Post-Workout Meditation Made Easy

As I’ve already mentioned, the exact form of meditation that you use after your workout is completely up to you and your personal preference. To get you started, though, here’s a very (very) basic routine that you can easily tack to the end of your workouts:

3 Big Reasons Why You Should Meditate After Your Workout | Yuri Elkaim (2)

  • Set a timer for 10 minutes,
  • Sit upright in a comfortable position, preferably with your legs crossed on the floor,
  • Close your eyes,
  • Inhale deeply through your nose, expanding your diaphragm, for a count of 2,
  • Hold your breath for another 2 counts,
  • Exhale slowly through your mouth for 4 counts, and
  • Repeat the breathing pattern for the allotted period of time.

To progress, you can gradually increase the amount of time you devote to each of these breaths,keeping the same basic pattern.

As a general rule, your exhalation should take twice as long as the two other steps.So, if you inhale for 3 counts, hold for 3 and exhale for 6 counts.

Meditation is a wonderful practice at any time of the day and especially after your workouts because of how it calms your mind and body after a strenuous training session.

Give it a shot and see how you feel.

Give Your Body A Break

Feeling sore and stiff after your workouts? Looking to boost your recovery andyour results?

Definitely check out these 11 little-known cool down strategies in myWorkout Recovery Formula, which is available for FREE to download now by clicking the banner below.

3 Big Reasons Why You Should Meditate After Your Workout | Yuri Elkaim (3)


Why do you have to meditate after a workout? ›

Meditating after a workout can help train your body to respond to that stress more effectively. By lowering stress, meditation also helps you feel less pain through lowering your body pressure, relieving tension, and focusing your mind on recovery and healing.

What are three proven benefits of meditation? ›

The emotional and physical benefits of meditation can include:
  • Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations.
  • Building skills to manage your stress.
  • Increasing self-awareness.
  • Focusing on the present.
  • Reducing negative emotions.
  • Increasing imagination and creativity.
  • Increasing patience and tolerance.

Does meditation help with muscle recovery? ›

Meditation after exercise plays an essential role in recovery. It can help your body get better faster while reducing the risk of injury, thanks to the lowering of cortisol on your body. Meditation post-workout will also reduce pain and body ache an intense workout might bring you.

When should I meditate after a workout? ›

Meditating prior to a workout allows you to relax and stretch your muscles. In fact, if done correctly, it can also make a difference in the way your body responds to exercise. However, if you do it post your workout, chances are, the results double up and you see a difference right away.

What changes in body after meditation? ›

"The relaxation response [from meditation] helps decrease metabolism, lowers blood pressure, and improves heart rate, breathing, and brain waves," Benson says. Tension and tightness seep from muscles as the body receives a quiet message to relax. There's scientific evidence showing how meditation works.

Does meditation help muscle growth? ›

It can actually help you to build muscle! Meditation involves focusing on just one item to create a greater awareness of the world round you. By focusing on just your current lift you will put more effort into each bicep curl or squat. In fact, you'll actually lift more and push harder!

What are 2 benefits of meditation? ›

Reduced stress: Meditation may decrease stress. It can also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and fibromyalgia. Improved memory: Better focus through regular meditation may increase memory and mental clarity.

What are 7 benefits of meditation? ›

The mental health benefits of meditation include better focus and concentration, improved self-awareness and self-esteem, lower levels of stress and anxiety, and fostering kindness. Meditation also has benefits for your physical health, as it can improve your tolerance for pain and help fight substance addiction.

Should I meditate before or after a workout? ›

By meditating after your workout, you align your body back to a calm state so it can focus on healing. It will also help produce endorphins that help the body relax, recover, and bring positive emotions. Many who meditate after working out find an improved state of recovery.

What are the benefits of meditation for bodybuilding? ›

Meditation offers a wide range of benefits for athletes and bodybuilders, including reduced stress and anxiety, improved focus and concentration, and increased overall well-being.

How does meditation heal the body? ›

Over the long term, the relaxation response that results from meditation reduces stress-related inflammation and improves insulin resistance. Meditation also causes the body to produce more of the immune system's helper cells, which assist in fighting infections.

What happens after 10 minutes of meditation? ›

Eventually, those 10-minute meditation sessions help rewire our brain so that it gets easier and easier to bring that same level of awareness to our everyday lives. And a calmer, more relaxed version of ourselves will emerge — that's pretty nice.

What happens after 20 minutes of meditation? ›

Science says listening to this meditation can help you make fewer mistakes. On days when you feel spacey, forgetful or tired at work, taking a 20-minute break to meditate could help you pay closer attention to tasks and ultimately make fewer mistakes, according to a new study out of Michigan State University.

What happens after 30 minutes of meditation? ›

One study found that those who practiced mindfulness meditation for just 30 minutes a day over eight weeks had an increase in gray matter density in the areas of their brain responsible for stress management, sense of self, empathy, and memory.

What are 5 side effects of meditation? ›

Symptoms such as pain, pressure, involuntary movements, headaches, fatigue, weakness, gastrointestinal problems, and dizziness were all reported in people who were enthusiastic meditators.

What not to do after meditation? ›

Immediately after meditation, try to avoid getting up and doing something right away. Instead, try and provide a few minute long transition period to ease yourself back into reality.

What happens to the brain after 8 weeks of meditation? ›

Daily meditation decreases anxiety and improves cognitive functioning in new meditators after 8 weeks. Only 8 weeks of daily meditation can decrease negative mood and anxiety and improve attention, working memory, and recognition memory in non-experienced meditators.

What are the 6 benefits of meditation? ›

Controls Anxiety

When your stress levels are decreased, your anxiety is as well. Meditation can also reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, social anxiety, and panic attacks. When you develop a meditation routine, it can be used to calm your mind in times of anxiety or high-stress moments.

Does meditation thicken the brain? ›

Enlarges The Prefrontal Cortex

Research shows that meditation increases grey matter in the prefrontal cortex––having extra brain cells in this region can boost our ability to make rational decisions.

Can meditation transform your body? ›

Meditation has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety, but research suggests it can also change parts of one of our most important organs – the brain.

How meditation has changed my life? ›

After a few sessions, I started feeling happier, and able to control my emotions which improved my moods and focus. To my surprise, I started sleeping better at night and my anxiety slowly reduced. I felt much calmer and could go about my day without falling into a downward, negative spiral.

Can meditation rewire your brain? ›


Daily mindful meditation practice has been shown to produce measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. Studies have even documented changes in the brain's grey matter over time.

What powers are gained from meditation? ›

Meditation lets you become more aware and more purposeful about your actions. It teaches you how to respond, rather than react, to situations in your life. Meditation sounds simple. But it takes discipline to remain still in body and mind.

What is meditation 5 points? ›

This meditation for the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course guides the listener through five points of focus: breath, body sensations, sounds, thoughts and emotions, and choiceless awareness (whichever of the previous four is most prominent in each moment).

What are the 4 elements of meditation? ›

One of the mindfulness exercises described in the Satipaṭṭhāna-sutta and its parallels concerns the four elements of earth, water, fire, and wind, which stand representative of the qualities of solidity, cohesion, temperature, and motion.

What does meditation do to the brain? ›

It can strengthen areas of your brain responsible for memory, learning, attention and self-awareness. The practice can also help calm down your sympathetic nervous system. Over time, mindfulness meditation can increase cognition, memory and attention.

How does meditation change the brain? ›

Meditation is shown to thicken the pre-frontal cortex. This brain center manages higher order brain function, like increased awareness, concentration, and decision making. Changes in the brain show, with meditation, higher-order functions become stronger, while lower-order brain activities decrease.

Does working out count as meditation? ›

Exercise involves meditation, even though many may not realize it. Some call exercise “moving meditation” because it creates the same types of emotional and chemical changes in our brains that come from meditation.

How do you meditate while exercising? ›

8 Ways to Bring Mindfulness to Your Exercise Routine
  1. Pause and consider your purpose. ...
  2. Unplug. ...
  3. Tap into body sensations. ...
  4. Use your breath as a cue to challenge yourself more or ease up as necessary. ...
  5. Play with different anchors of attention. ...
  6. Note your surroundings. ...
  7. Renew your resolve — burning hamstrings and all.
May 16, 2018

Why is 4 am the best time to meditate? ›

In the morning, at surise: Traditionally between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., the Brahma Muhurta Sandhya is the most auspicious time to meditate, according to the ancients. The mind is calm and refreshed after a good night's sleep, and the distractions of the day have yet to begin.

Does meditation build energy? ›

Just 25 minutes of yoga, meditation 'boosts brain function, energy'

Why is it important to meditate? ›

Depending on the type of meditation you choose, you can meditate to relax, reduce anxiety and stress, and more. Some people even use meditation to help them improve their health, such as using it to help adapt to the challenges of quitting tobacco products.

Does meditation heal trauma? ›

Meditation helps us heal from trauma by offering us a new perspective on past and current events, and ultimately, by changing the structure of our brain.

What happens when you meditate everyday? ›

Daily meditation can help you perform better at work! Research found that meditation helps increase your focus and attention and improves your ability to multitask. Meditation helps clear our minds and focus on the present moment – which gives you a huge productivity boost. Lowers risk of depression.

Is 20 minutes of meditation equal to 4 hours of sleep? ›

20 Minutes' Meditation Is Equivalent To 4-5 Hours Of Deep Sleep, Say Experts At ASSOCHAM's 'Illness To Wellness' Series.

How many minutes of meditation is enough? ›

The above research implies that 13 minutes of meditation per session is enough to reap benefits. Still, regularity may be just as important. Practicing for 13 minutes once every few months isn't likely to yield as many benefits as practicing daily for 5 minutes.

How long is too much meditation? ›

The gauge of how much is “too much” meditation depends on the person. For some people, meditating for over an hour isn't a problem; for others, meditating for thirty minutes is already too much.

How long do the benefits of meditation last? ›

Final Thoughts

A single meditation session can reduce stress for a couple of hours; however, consistent meditation practice is required to reap the long-lasting positive effects of meditation. Unfortunately, there is no specific time when you will start to feel these benefits.

Can you feel drained after meditation? ›

The brain waves active during meditation may be similar to those in early stages of sleep. That means it's only natural to feel a bit drowsy during your meditation from time to time.

What happens if you miss meditation? ›

Don't Beat Yourself Up if You Miss a Day — or Even a Week

Whatever the reason for skipping a day (or more) of your practice, don't let it derail you. Instead, Laube suggests recalling your intention for meditating (your “why”) and simply starting again.

What happens after 1 year of meditation? ›

Meditation has trained my brain to be more focused and productive. It's made me less prone to running with feelings of worries and what-ifs. It's made me see myself, my life, and how to get things done very clearly.

What happens after 40 days of meditation? ›

It is said in Kundalini yoga that doing a specific practice for 40 days straight will break any negative habits that block you from the expansion possible through the kriya. For me, I just needed a number and 40 felt like a good one.

What happens after 10,000 hours of meditation? ›

Some equate 10,000 hours of meditation to a PhD in happiness. Other people say it is peace, emotional freedom, serenity, self-awareness, liberation, or non-attachment. For me, I like to use the word Self-Mastery, which I believe encompasses all these concepts. Well, today I have completed my 7,000th hour of meditation!

Is it better to meditate before or after a workout? ›

Most commonly cited is the possible benefit to physical recovery from meditating after exercise. Meditation has been shown to help reduce cortisol levels, which increase after exercise. If meditation helps to bring down your cortisol levels, it could mean that your muscles recover from exercise more quickly.

Why do I feel high after meditation? ›

Meditation may cause changes to the brain's levels of dopamine, the same brain chemical involved in drug addiction.

Does meditation help you rest? ›

Meditation increases the natural melatonin levels to help with more restful sleep. Furthermore, meditation is shown to have benefits on patients with mental health disorders who may experience insomnia as a symptom.

When should I meditate? ›

Although meditation can be beneficial at any hour of the day, many people find morning to be the best time to meditate because it's typically the part of the day with the least distractions.

What does meditation do? ›

Meditation refers to a set of techniques to enhance attention, emotional awareness, kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and mental calmness even in difficult situations. Some people find that regular meditation practice helps them be kind to themselves and more caring towards others.

How do you meditate and exercise? ›

8 Ways to Bring Mindfulness to Your Exercise Routine
  1. Pause and consider your purpose. ...
  2. Unplug. ...
  3. Tap into body sensations. ...
  4. Use your breath as a cue to challenge yourself more or ease up as necessary. ...
  5. Play with different anchors of attention. ...
  6. Note your surroundings. ...
  7. Renew your resolve — burning hamstrings and all.
May 16, 2018

Can too much meditation be harmful? ›

Meditation lets you be in tune with your thoughts and emotions. And while this is generally a good thing, over-meditation can lead you to be overexposed to what's inside, which can be overwhelming. Meditating too much can result in increased anxiety, panic attacks, and resurfaced negative feelings or memories.

How long should you meditate? ›

Mindfulness-based clinical interventions such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) typically recommend practicing meditation for 40-45 minutes per day. The Transcendental Meditation (TM) tradition often recommends 20 minutes, twice daily.

Why do I feel dizzy when meditating? ›

This is an automatic response to slower breathing and a decreased heart rate. The result can sometimes be one of feeling light-headed or dizzy and is nothing to worry about.

Is meditation a workout for the brain? ›

The mind is a gym and meditation is a basic workout. Goleman says research suggests seasoned meditators are better able to focus, staying on task despite distractions around them, and are more resilient—able to snap back from an angry outburst, for instance.

Is meditation just breathing in and out? ›

Breath work and meditation are connected in that meditation requires breath work, but breathing techniques can be practiced on their own to cultivate mindfulness, and don't necessarily need to be paired with meditation. There are thousands of forms of meditation and with them come different breathing techniques.

Should you meditate in bed? ›

Jackson adds that meditation is something you can do anywhere without any equipment-that means that you can easily meditate in bed, which is very convenient. Meditating from any comfortable place, including your bed, can make you feel a lot more relaxed and allow you to have those precious moments of peace and quiet.


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