You’re finally in a groove with your Peloton rides, having cracked when and how to fit your workouts into your busy schedule. And it’s going great! You feel accomplished, confident and healthy and you’re seeing results—so much so that you’re ready to take your wellness regimen to the next level. Our advice? Start incorporating daily meditations into your routine. Here’s why.
First off, there’s no right or wrong way to meditate. Meditation is about clearing your mind of any stressors or tasks on your to-do list and taking some time to check in with yourself. You don’t need to recite a mantra (unless you want to) or even sit still. You can sit in your chair at work and focus on your breathing or take a stroll around the block and focus on the rhythm of your steps. There’s also no minimum amount of time required; you can meditate for one minute, five minutes or twenty minutes, whatever works best for you. The most important thing is that for however long you set aside, you aren’t thinking about the work assignment you have due or what you are going to make for dinner. You are simply taking the time to breathe.
What does meditating have to do with exercising? The more you meditate, the more in tune you’ll become with your body. You’ll recognize things like where you’re holding tension, which muscles are tight and what your breath feels and sounds like when you’re totally relaxed. This is valuable information you can translate to your Peloton rides. You’ll know better if you’re breathing easy and can push your cadence faster, or if your quadricep feels tight and you need to pull back on the resistance. Imbalances will also become more apparent, such as if you’re putting too much weight on your handlebars when you’re out of the saddle or if you’re peddling harder with one foot than the other. All these aspects of body awareness will help you go longer, farther and faster in a safer and more effective manner.
Once you’ve fine-tuned the practice of turning down the noises around you and in your head, you can utilize this meditative practice while you’re on the Bike. If you’re nearing the top of the hill or the final interval and feel yourself starting to give up, you can focus on your breathing, the rhythm of your pedal strokes or the beat of the music to block out the burn in your lungs and your legs. You may even call on a mantra, like “I am strong” or “I am unstoppable” to power through to the finish line.
Meditation is also an incredibly potent tool for stress relief. It has been shown to lower the body’s output of stress-promoting hormones like cortisol, lowering instances of anxiety. If you frequently find yourself stressed about finding time to ride, reducing your overall stress levels with meditation can help. What’s more, less stress typically translates to a sunnier outlook that will allow you to enjoy hearing your favorite instructor shout out your name or appreciate the sweat dripping down your face. In all, incorporating meditation into your fitness routine will take you one step closer to achieving optimal physical and mental health and wellness.