A friend once told me, “Kayaking is my meditation. That’s where I go all zen.” Well, why not? I’m not going to debate what zen is (I still don’t know), but is exercise the same thing as meditation? Here is what a Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, has to say about that:
… to lead a balanced life, we need to engage and be active, and to deepen and rest. … Exercise can be a support for meditation, and meditation can be a support for exercise. … People sometimes say, “Running is my meditation.” Even though I know what they mean, in reality, running is running and meditation is meditation. That’s why they have different names. It would be just as inaccurate to say, “Meditation is my exercise.”
Read the complete essay Running into Meditation by Sakyong Mipham (Lion’s Roar, 18 Mar 2016)
And, another take on the topic of running and meditation: Meditation plus Running as a Treatment for Depression (Well blog, NY Times, 16 Mar 2016).