How Meditation Helps Families Stay Healthier 77% of people in the United States report experiencing physical symptoms caused by stress, which can adversely affect all systems in the body. People of all ages experience stress, and the effects of stress can take a toll on family life, in fact, 54% of people cite stress as a factor for fighting with someone close to them. As a fitness and health professional, you can promote better physical and mental health in your clients by teaching them healthy ways to alleviate stress. Incorporating meditation into your client’s fitness routine will improve their physical and mental wellbeing. Meditation reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, helps clients overcome harmful habits and can minimize pain associated with certain disorders. Reducing Stress Through Exercise and Meditation Improves Heart Health When the body experiences stress, the brain releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which increase heart rate, constrict blood vessels and elevate blood sugar levels. Over time, the effects of chronic stress can increase your risk of heart disease . Meditation and mindfulness help the brain turn off this fight or flight response, lowering heart rate and blood pressure. While cardiovascular disease predominantly affects people later in life, forming healthy habits in childhood is key for long-term prevention. Stress affects children in the United States at an alarming rate, and can lead to difficulty sleeping, obesity and increased risk of substance abuse. Introducing meditation to children at a young age and making it a regular family activity can set young people on the right path towards a lifetime of excellent cardiovascular health. Meditation Can Improve Your Workout Meditation can also be a great way to begin a workout session, especially if you feel overwhelmed and unmotivated. If your day feels hectic and out of control it can be difficult to make time for exercise and self-care. By taking a few moments to focus on breathing and recenter your thoughts, you’ll find yourself invigorated and ready to take on new physical challenges. Meditation also improves the connection between mind and body and has been reported by sports-psychologists to improve athletic flow. Athletes who meditate before a game report better concentration and performance, as they are able to stay present and aware in every play they make. Stress and anxiety, which are common in adolescents, can take a toll on student athletes , impacting their game-day performance as well as other areas of their life. High school and youth sports teams can work with a fitness trainer on meditating to enhance focus and improve flow during games. Parents can also help their children mentally prepare for a big game by meditating together at home. Meditation Benefits Women’s Health For women, mindfulness and meditation offer a number of unique health benefits. Meditation can help women better cope with pain and discomfort associated with menstruation. The stress reducing benefits of yoga can help women remain calm throughout pregnancy, cope with infertility and improve postpartum milk production. Focused patterns of breathing, mindfulness and visualization can also ease pain and anxiety during labor. Meditation benefits people of all ages and can be a healthy and fun way to spend time with your family. Meditating as a group enhances stress-reducing benefits by strengthening social bonds and building community. Fitness and health professionals can help families stay happier and healthier by introducing meditation to their lives. About the Author: Sally Phillips is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.