Meditation can help you get stronger in a couple of different ways. One of them is improving recovery from heavy workout sessions. Workouts are stressors and to recover from them, you need to rest. Sometimes, the workouts are so hard that they make you feel stressed for days after. Most of us know that maxing out on the deadlift is a type of such a workout.
After a period of stress, our body needs a period of rest to ensure proper recovery which is essential for your wellbeing and progress. Some workouts leave your body in a state of hyperactivity and spending too much time in that state will make you unable to recover properly. Meditation can help in a couple of different ways. However, before listing all the benefits of meditation practice, let’s explain what meditation actually is, how it affects mental toughness and how meditation techniques can help you increase your strength levels.
Meditation is a form of deep concentration. There are many types of meditation such as guided meditation, mindfulness meditation, spiritual meditation, etc. Depending on the structure of your meditation session, you might experience different sensations, benefits and outcomes. Meditation can be directed towards improving mental health, mental clarity, reprogramming your mind or increasing your strength.
Meditation can even out sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activity by putting you in a state of relaxation. Calming your mind has a direct effect on your body and decreases cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone (fight or flight) and it has been proven by science that chronically elevated cortisol levels will cause your testosterone levels to drop down and increase catabolism (tissue breakdown). That will cause the net protein balance to be smaller than under healthy conditions. In the end, being chronically stressed will simply not allow you to build as much strength and muscle mass as you could if you were taking care of yourself.
Deep rhythmic breathing with slowed down expiration and focusing your attention on the process or rhythmic music is enough to be considered a meditation practice. Breathing deeper will allow your alveoli to deliver more oxygen to your bloodstream and slowing down the exhalation phase will cause the vagus nerve to increase parasympathetic nervous system activity thus, decreasing your heart rate and stress-hormone levels.
By meditating regularly, you ensure that your body and mind stay balanced which helps you with the process of gaining stress, muscle mass and most importantly, leading a healthy life.