The 14 Best Things You Can Do for Your Body: Meditate

Amazing News!

Hello everyone! For me, this has been a nerve wracking week. My first baby (Mercy) is due this week, so my husband and I are constantly on edge. The anticipation is murder! Murder I say!! At the doctor’s appointment this week, we were told that if I didn’t go into labor by next week, I would be scheduled to be induced on the 17th. It’s nice to know that there will be a definite end. It feels like I’ve been pregnant forever!

Since I am so close, the running withdrawal has been getting that much worse. I am so excited about getting a baby jogger and running around the neighborhood with my little peanut. 🙂 I have also made the decision to get more involved in the running community. For most of my life, I’ve been a lone runner. I used running as my way to clear my head late at night. However, I know that getting back to the way I used to be will not be easy. So, I decided to put myself out there. For anyone that knows me in the real world, this is something that I would normally avoid doing. I don’t like eyes on me or too much attention. Regardless, I am making a life decision to become more outgoing.

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A visual of how not running feels like.

After pouring over race after race, I came upon the ODDyssey Half Marathon. It looked like just a really fun race, so I applied to become a race ambassador. To my surprise I got accepted :D. The race will take place in Phila. on June 8, 2014. I am really excited! And with this new opportunity, I have decided to create a local running team. I’ll be honest. I have not been so social for a while. Between being pregnant, the Army and school; life has been crazy! I ended up reaching out to Feet Fleet of Marlton, NJ to help me out. The manager (Kyle) has been incredibly helpful. I’m looking to probably start weekly runs in March. More details will follow!

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Sweet Medal, huh?

The 14 Best Things You Can Do for Your Body: Meditate

After running the April Fools Half Marathon last year, I decided to subscribe to a few women’s fitness oriented magazines. Huge mistake. I felt that there were more articles centered around make-up and cute workout clothes rather than fitness and wellness. To top it off, the workouts weren’t really for me. They only featured beginner workouts. There’s nothing wrong with having beginner workouts, but I really wished that they would also include some challenging workouts. Aw well. So, I started following Men’s Fitness. Why? Because many of the articles featured are not just for men.

I particularly loved this one article they featured on their website called The 14 Best Things You Can Do for Your Body. I’m taking the liberty to take these little blurbs a little further. The best part about this article is that these are all relatively small changes that don’t involve torture. No cleanses, no popular laxatives, and no extreme workouts involved… just simple changes. Believe me, one healthy decision often leads to another. How awesome is it, that they gave 14 ideas for healthy decisions? The first one they mention is meditation.

Why Meditate?

In a world filled with constant stimulation (television, the internet, phones, Facebook, ect.), it is really hard to find a quiet moment for your brain. I know that as a typical 20-something, I am surgically attached to my phone and the internet. At night, my husband and I are usually talking a bit, on our mobile devices, and we have the television on. Having a few moments to focus inwardly and on nothing else is pretty epic to say the least. Because of this, meditation will help improve focus and help with productivity. From a running standpoint, I think that meditation helped to focus during my races; rather than having my head in a million different places. According to the article, “Meditation is going to help with stress reduction, better sleep, lower blood pressure, improved immunity, and improved cardiovascular function,”. By disconnecting from the world through meditation, (if only for 20 minutes a day) you can start seeing the positive physical and mental changes in your well-being.

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How to Meditate?

I know that the first thing that people think of when it comes to meditation is sitting like a pretzel and chanting “Aum”. And sure, if chanting is what gets you to mediate effectively, go for it. However, if that intimidates you, here are a few tips to get you started.

1) Turn off (or at least put on silent) all electronic devices. Turn off the television, radio, ect. There should be complete silence around you. If you have kids, I know this can be very difficult. I suggest that you try to wake up a bit earlier or wait until they are in bed before you get started. Otherwise, the distractions will keep you from meditating successfully.

2) I suggest trying to sit cross-legged on the floor in the middle of the room. I enjoy doing a few light stretches to loosen me up. Don’t lean against a wall. However, you still may want to sit up straight. In order to do this, imagine that you are a marionette doll and that there is a wire going from the top of your head to the ceiling (or sky if you happen to be outdoors). Try your best to keep a straight back, and your head up. Keep in mind that you should not feel as though you are straining your muscles. The point of this is to RELAX.

3) Rest your hands on your knees. For beginners, I would suggest that you let your hands or wrists rest on your knees with your palms facing downwards.

4) Close your eyes. You are going to want to eliminate all visual stimulation as well.

5) Breathe in and out in slow deep breaths. Focus on only this. Eventually, you should be able to hear your heart-beat. It’s kind of awesome and freaky at the same time. Try to get to this point. It’s ok if you struggle to first few times. Just try your best to clear your mind and to focus on your inhaling and exhaling alone.

Let me know if meditation has helped you by dropping a comment below! Also, if you really enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing the love on Twitter or Facebook. Cheers!

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