Meditative and mindfulness practices have been studied for years and the benefits are abundantly positive for health and wellness. Not only do they promote focus, improve cognitive function and self awareness, but they also promote optimal heart health. Mindfulness practices are simple techniques that anyone can perform, only take minutes in many instances, and are powerfully healthy habits to focus on developing.
Mindfulness practices with the following physical activities benefit heart health in various capacities:
Diet – Science has shown when we concentrate on the intricate details of our meals (taste, temperature, feel, rate in which we eat, our satiation (fulness) we tend to eat until satisfied vs. until full.
Exercise – The legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger has touted mindfulness as one of the tools that helped him become such a world-class bodybuilder in his day. By concentrating and focusing on the individual muscle being worked, really noticing and feeling the burn and the pump, so to speak, you actually can get a more impactful work out vs if your mind is wondering and thinking about other things during your exercise (this is what Arnold did).
Sleep – Mindfulness and meditation practices right before sleep help the brain and body to relax, blood pressure to lower, heart rate to slow, and help you fall asleep sooner vs reflecting on the stresses of the day to day, or what needs to be done tomorrow.
Mindfulness practices alone improve heart health through the reduction of stress, decrease in blood pressure and heart rate, but also by incorporating mindfulness into the physical activities listed above, the heart gains additional benefits. Optimal diet, optimal sleep, and daily exercise all help to reduce bodily fat, which is a crucial component in the reduction of heart related illnesses. These physical activities also help to strengthen the heart and maintain regular heart beats.
The next time you sit down for a meal, really pay attention to the process of eating: the temperature of the food, what it tastes like, the action of picking it up and placing into your mouth, the sensation of approaching satiation. If you have trouble falling asleep, try to simply focus on your breathing. If another thought enters into your mind, that is OK, just come back to your breathing and feel each muscle in your body totally relaxed. The next time you are at the gym or about to begin exercising, really concentrate on the area of the body you’re intending to work out. Put yourself inside of that muscle and feel the tension and the strain.
Try using meditative and mindfulness techniques a little bit every single day and not only will your brain and muscles benefit, but your heart will as well!
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