Meditation can be a game changer for an athlete. While some may think it’s only for those “weird, hipster types,” it actually can benefit just about anyone, especially athletes. Practiced for thousands of years, meditation has been proven to reduce stress, increase mental clarity and improve regular brain functions. In addition to these physical benefits, meditation can help provide mental clarity. Meditation can also increase your immunity to fight diseases, improve your metabolism, help you sleep better and decrease tension-related pain and joint problems.
Meditation isn’t just for yogis. It’s used by people around the world who are looking to feel slightly more connected and grounded. Even professional soccer players agree to its benefits. Chicago Red Stars captain and striker Christen Press recently spoke with Lifetimeabout how meditation helps her reach her goals.
“It’s like when you’re totally focused in the present moment, you actually are able to absorb and perceive so much more,” Press explained.
Press also regularly practices yoga. She explained in Yoga Journal how meditation and yoga go hand-in-hand, helping her to stay in the moment and practice these skills on the soccer field.
“Meditation and yoga have helped teach me how to stay focused and balanced by continually coming back to the present moment and stripping the power away from the infiltrating thoughts.
Press isn’t the only player practicing meditation. Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan told Vogue that she “spends [her] downtime doing yoga, practicing meditation, and playing beach volleyball.”
In a study examining the effects of meditation on Division I football players, it was shownthat if “athletes practice meditation for a few minutes a day, they may become better able to withstand the mental demands of hours of strenuous physical training.”
The athletes were divided into two groups, one that listened to calming music and the other that practiced meditation. The athletes in the second group showed considerably higher mental resilience with higher scores than the other athletes on the measures of both attention and mood.
So what do you think socceristas? Do you think a little mindfulness and meditation can help improve your game on the field? The soccer stars and science say it works! Maybe this is the secret weapon your soccer regime has been missing. As we “head back to soccer” this fall, give meditation a try before a game and let us know if you see any results. Happy meditating!