Meditation vs Exercise: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. Purpose: Meditation focuses on training the mind to achieve mental clarity, relaxation, and self-awareness, while exercise primarily aims to enhance physical fitness, strength, and cardiovascular health.
  2. Engagement: Meditation engages the mind through techniques like concentration, mindfulness, and observation of thoughts and sensations, while exercise involves physical movement and active body engagement through structured activities.
  3. Benefits: Meditation is associated with mental and emotional benefits such as stress reduction, improved focus, and overall well-being. Exercise offers physical benefits like improved cardiovascular health, increased strength, weight management, and reduced risk of chronic diseases.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a practice that has been done since ancient times. The technique involves promoting the training of the mind to preach peace and calm mind and body. Meditation has been in practice for thousands of years to decrease stress, promote relaxation, and helps in improving health.

Meditation is of many types like – zen, transcendental, and mindfulness. But every kind of it has one primary goal: to promote relaxation, bring peace, decrease anxiety, and bring mindfulness.

It has many benefits, such as lifting mood, improving concentration, bringing peace, reducing stress, improving blood pressure, sleep cycle, depression, and more.

What is Exercise?

Exercise is categorized as a physical activity that mainly includes exertion and movement. Exercise is believed to be an integral part of a healthy routine, and it helps maintain a healthy lifestyle and well-being.

Exercises can be of different types like – strength training, aerobic training, and flexibility training. And these include – running, cycling, swimming, lifting weights, doing yoga, stretching, etc. All such activities have different benefits for different parts of the body.

Also Read:  Meditation vs Spirituality: Difference and Comparison

Some benefits of regular exercise may include – improved strength and endurance, help in weight management, and cardiovascular health, reduced depression and anxiety, building self-esteem, and much more.

Difference Between Meditation and Exercise

  1. The physical aspect of meditation includes lying or sitting down in a relaxed position; on the other hand, the physical aspect of exercise includes physical activity.
  2. Meditation focuses on deep and slow breathing processes to promote mindfulness. In contrast, exercises include controlled breathing to avoid exertion on the body.
  3. The primary focus of meditation is to reduce mental stress and calm the mind; on the other hand, the primary focus of exercise is to improve physical fitness.
  4. The goal of meditation is to promote relaxation, bring peace, decrease anxiety, and brings mindfulness. At the same time, the exercise aims to boost endurance, strength, and flexibility and improve physical health.
  5. Meditation is for a few minutes or an hour, while exercise is for 30 minutes or an hour.
  6. Meditation has many types, like – Zen, transcendental, and mindfulness. On the other hand, exercise also has many kinds, like – flexibility, strength, or aerobic training.
  7. Meditation does not require any equipment, while exercise requires various equipment like – weights, treadmills, bars, etc.
  8. The benefits of doing meditation are – it lifts mood, improves concentration, brings peace, and reduces stress and anxiety. Additionally, the benefits of doing exercise are – improved strength and endurance, help in weight management, and cardiovascular health.
  9. The approach of meditation includes mental exercise for self-awareness and self-reflection. While on the other hand, the exercise approach has a physical activity for exertion and movement.
Also Read:  Meditation vs Yoga Nidra: Difference and Comparison

Comparison Between Meditation and Exercise

Parameter of ComparisonMeditationExercise
PhysicalIncludes lying or sitting down in a relaxed positionIncludes physical activity
BreathingFocuses on deep and slow breathing processes to promote mindfulness and breathing  Focuses on controlled breathing to avoid exertion
FocusReducing mental stress and calming the mindImprove physical fitness
GoalPromote relaxation, brings peace, and decrease anxiety and brings mindfulnessBoost endurance, strength, and flexibility, and improve physical health
DurationFew minutes to an hour or moreFor half an hour to an hour
TypesZen, Transcendental, and MindfulnessFlexible, strength or aerobic training
Equipment NeededNothing requiredVarious equipment like – weighs, treadmills, bars, etc
BenefitsLifts mood, improves concentration, brings peace, reduces stress and anxietyImprove strength and endurance, help in weight management, cardiovascular health
ApproachIncludes mental exercise for self-awareness and self-reflectionIncludes physical activity for exertion and movement
References
  1. https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2019/0515/p620.html?cmpid=em_AFP_20190318.
  2. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0247685

Last Updated : 14 October, 2023

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