Let's take a closer look at meditation and the deep connection it has with our brain.
What is meditation
Before examining the connection that meditation has with our brain, we need to define what exactly meditation is. Meditation is a practice of the mind and the body. It increases calm and reduces stress, promotes physical relaxation, improves psychological balance, improves overall health, and can even help individuals cope with the disease.
The use of meditation is growing in popularity in the United States. In fact, the National health survey (NHIS) showed that the proportion of American adults who used meditation in the previous year tripled between 2012 and 2017, from 4.1% to 14.2%.
Meditation is also increasingly popular among American children between the ages of 4 and 17. The participation of people in this age group increased significantly over the period, from 0.6% to 5.4%.
Types of meditation
There are several types of meditation, such as mindfulness meditation, mantra meditation, and movement meditation. Most forms of meditation incorporate four basic elements:
- A quiet place with minimal distractions
- A comfortable position, such as sitting, lying or walking
- Something to focus on, such as a specific word or phrase, an object, or simple breathing techniques
- An open attitude, such as allowing distractions to come and go without judgment
How meditation affects our brain
Meditation has been shown to slow down our brains from actively processing information as normally and quickly as we would during a non-meditative state. This decrease in beta waves, who are most active when we are alert, attentive, and engaged in problem solving and decision making, can result in as little time as that spent in a 20 minute meditation session.
Using advanced technology, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI), scientists can see what is going on in our brains when we meditate. An fMRI scan measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow.
"My own interest comes from practicing these [meditation techniques] and found them beneficial, personally. Then, as a scientist, ask, “How does this work? What does it do to me? and want to understand the mechanisms to see if it can help others. If we want it to become therapy or something offered in the community, we have to demonstrate [its benefits] scientifically. "
Now, here are some other ways that meditation can change the brain:
Meditation engages different parts of the brain
Meditation can change where the activity occurs in our brain. the frontal lobe, in particular, is the part of the brain that is responsible for reasoning, planning, emotions, and self-awareness. It is considered to be the most evolved part of the brain, and meditation tends to take this part of the brain offline.
the parietal lobe, who is responsible for processing of sensory information, and thalamus, which relays motor and sensory signals to the cerebral cortex, are also affected by meditation with slowing down and even stopping other trigger signals.
Enlarges the prefrontal cortex
the prefrontal cortex covers the frontal lobe, which is the front part of the brain responsible for rational decision making. Research shows that meditation increases gray matter in the prefrontal cortex - having extra brain cells in this area can increase our ability to make rational decisions.
Shrinks the amygdala
As the emotional center of the brain, the tonsil is essential to our ability to feel certain emotions, such as fear, and to perceive these emotions in other people. A larger amygdala can equate to higher anxiety. Studies show that meditation shrinks the amygdala, which in turn provides us with better emotional control.
Thickens the hippocampus
the seahorse is responsible for learning and forming new memories. Research shows that practicing mindfulness meditation for just a few weeks can increase the size of the hippocampus. The increase in gray matter here suggests a greater ability to learn and remember.
Increase your gray matter
Grey matter is the tissue that contains brain cell bodies and unmyelinated axons. It is responsible for muscle control, memory, emotions, speech, decision making and self-control. Research shows that meditation training increases gray matter, suggesting that meditation may improve our brains' processing power in these areas.
Improves the activity of certain brain waves
Brain waves are electrical impulses in the brain that are generated when brain cells communicate. Certain brain waves are associated with various communications, such as high frequency gamma waves occurring in states of altruism, universal love, and "higher virtues." Research shows that people who meditate for a long time have more gamma wave activity before and during meditation.
The benefits of meditation
Meditation and the changes it makes to our brains offer a wide variety of benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, the practice of meditation can promote emotional well-being by eliminating the "information overload" that contributes to stress. This can lead to better focus, decreased anxiety, increased creativity, increased compassion and patience, sharper memory, less stress, and optimal self-awareness.
Meditation can be especially helpful for people with certain medical conditions - especially conditions made worse by stress, such as anxiety, tension headaches, sleep problems, and depression. The practice of meditation can also help people with asthma, cancer, chronic pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Remember that meditation is not a substitute for medical treatment, but can be a useful addition. Be sure to consult your doctor before making any adjustments to any treatment and starting a new health practice.
In recent years, we've seen Harvard scientists use fMRI to study the beneficial effects mindfulness meditation can have on depression.
Getting started with meditation
Not being familiar with meditation, or just having trouble finding the time to practice, can make it difficult to start a meditation practice. Fortunately, iFit® can help. No previous experience required. Strengthen the Mind Meditation Series with iFit guide, Kevin Courtney, will help shape and strengthen your practice with basic meditation tips intended to generate a calm and stable mind.
As the series progresses, your iFit guide introduces more advanced techniques to improve focus, cultivate awareness, and ultimately help you find your way to a bright, luminous mind.
With so much around us and life pulling us in so many different directions, it can be beneficial for your physical and mental health to take a step back and calm your mind with meditation each day. And with the guidance of iFit, you'll be on your way to finding that inner peace and getting back to your roots.
DISCLAIMER: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. ProForm assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article. Always follow the safety precautions included in the owner’s manual of your fitness equipment.
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Going to the gym is a great habit. But when life gets in the way, sometimes you just can’t make it there. That’s why it’s important to have a home fitness room. A must-have for anyone serious about staying fit, a home gym lets you get your workout in without ever needing to leave the house.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE GREATEST BENEFITS OF HAVING A HOME FITNESS ROOM :
1. HOME GYMS MAKE IT EASIER TO STICK TO YOUR FITNESS ROUTINE.
According to the etats unis Department of Health and Human Services, every week, adults should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, or 1 hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous exercise—or a blend of the two. The HHS also recommends that you spread your workouts throughout the week and include muscle-building workouts at least twice a week.
Sticking to an exercise routine is easier said than done. But with a home fitness room, you can get the workouts you need all from the convenience of your own home. Using private equipment, you get to avoid the traffic that comes with the gym commute, skip the lines for workout equipment, and exercise on your own time. With your home gym, if you exercise any time you have 30 minutes to kill, you’ll get your 2. 5 hours in before the weekend with time to spare.
2. A HOME GYM LETS YOU AVOID BAD WEATHER.
Bad weather is one of the most common reasons that people break their workout surveillance. Although it might seem like an excuse, oftentimes it’s a legitimate safety concern. There are almost 6 million car crashes annually, and 21 percent are weather-related. About percent of weather-related car incidents happen on wet pavement, and another 18 percent occur during snow and sleet storms. Every year, almost 5, 000 people die in these crashes.
When you have a home fitness room, you don’t need to worry about the commute to the gym and can exercise from the comfort and safety of your own home. Having a home gym doesn’t just help you stay fit; it can also save your life.
3. HOME GYMS LET YOU EXERCISE IN PRIVATE.
We know that exercise helps to relieve stress and anxiety. But what if going to the gym makes you feel so nervous and intimidated that you don’t get the exercise you need ? You can end up in a vicious cycle of anxiety because you’re worried about people judging you. If this sounds like your experience, you’re not alone. Almost 65 percent of women and trente six percent of men avoid going to the gym because they’re afraid of what other people might think. People mostly fear judgment about their weight, but there are many other reported fears, such as :
Using equipment incorrectlyDoing exercises wrongWearing the “wrong” clothesNot looking or being athletic enoughLooking awkward while exercising
But when exercising in your home gym, you won’t have to worry about any of these things. You can wear whatever you please, huff and puff as loud as you want, and watch the dorkiest Netflix shows while you work out and no one will judge you … except maybe your family.
4. A HOME GYM LETS EVERYONE IN THE HOUSE GET THEIR EXERCISE.
Speaking of your family, when was the last time they worked out ? All members of your household – kids, teens, adults, plus de 50 ans – need an age-appropriate amount of exercise. We’ve already talked about exercise for the average adult, but what about exercise for younger or older family members ?
The World Health Organization says that young people ages 5 to 17 should engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity at moderate to vigorous intensity. The majority of their workouts should be aerobic, with bone-loading and muscle-strengthening exercises added several times per week. Ideally, older adults should get the same amount of exercise as their younger counterparts. Folks who aren’t able to reach those minimums—150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise – should progressively do as much as they can. Even older adults with limited mobility should be active at least three days per week to prevent falls.
As difficult as it is to get yourself to the gym, it’s even harder to get your kids or older relatives there. With a home sport room, you can be sure that the people under your care are exercising as much as they should.
5. YOU CAN DESIGN YOUR HOME GYM ANY WAY YOU WANT.
At the gym, your workout is limited by the gym owner’s equipment. Maybe that equipment works for you, but maybe it doesn’t.
Luckily, you can design your home sport room any way you want. Do you want a rower ? Get one. Do you like a particular kind of treadmill or brand of elliptical ? Done. Do you have a spouse or friend you would like to work out with ? Get two of something. When the gym is in your home, you get to decide what goes in the space.
The possibilities are endless ! But don’t feel intimidated by your options. If you aren’t sure how to start building your home fitness room, there are professional sport consultants who can look at your home space, listen to your workout needs, and help you design a personalized home gym. And, the best part ? Home consultations are free at G
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