As it becomes routine for many of us, an often overlooked aspect of salat/namaz is the physical, spiritual and mental health benefits. When performed correctly and with the right posture, salat can improve muscle strength, joint mobility, blood circulation, postural stability and balance.
In a study conducted by Sami Saleh AlAbdulwahab, PT, PhD, Shaji John Kachanathu, PT, PhD, and Kamaldeen Oluseye, PT, PhD, sixty healthy males were divided into two equal groups: one group of subjects who regularly practiced Islamic prayer, and another group of non-practicing subjects. Adult healthy subjects practicing Islamic prayer regimes exhibited statistically significantly better dynamic balance (the ability to control the centre of gravity) than the non-practicing healthy subjects.
Saleh et al. also noted that during salat, frequent changes in body posture, joint angles, muscle length and speed of movement generate complex positional senses in the brain stem and cerebellum. The concentric and eccentric actions of all the postural antigravity muscles help strengthen the flexors and extensors of the neck, spine and knee, and improve flexibility, especially the dorsiflexor, hamstring and erector spinae muscles.
Beyond the physical benefits, praying salat offers us an opportunity to recalibrate our focus and meditate throughout five intervals in the day. It’s an opportunity to disconnect from the distractions of the material world and connect with ourselves and Allah (SWT). When performed correctly, this can have a positive impact on ones spiritual and mental health.