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Combine Mindfulness With Exercise For Mental Health Boost

Longevity By Nature
 
EuroMedica

MeditationFor people looking to start 2024 with a new routine to feel fitter and happier, a new study from the University of Bath (U.K.) suggests that combining mindfulness with exercise could be your key to success.

A study, published in the academic journal Mental Health and Physical Activity, suggests that life changes which combine both physical activity and mindfulness are most effective at lifting mood and improving health and wellbeing.

Both physical activity and mindfulness practice have well established psychological benefits.

However, by reviewing existing research studies, this is one of the first to show how the positive effects can be increased when the two are combined.

Its findings suggest that mindfulness can help to unlock exercise by helping to motivate people to start in the first place, whilst overcoming minor pain, discomfort or feelings of failure when exercising gets hard.

Analysis of existing research found mindfulness to be highly effective at reducing worry, stress, anxiety, and helping people to live healthier, happier lives.

The benefits for mental and physical health from mindfulness were found in people with and without health issues.

The study was conducted by psychologist Masha Remskar, an expert in behavior change, mindfulness and exercise based at the University of Bath, with support from the Medito Foundation—a mindfulness non-profit with a mission to build a more mindful world.

Through its work, Medito has developed a mindfulness meditation app—a free alternative to paid-for services such as Headspace and Calm.

It is collaborating with Bath to help improve people’s mental wellbeing but also to help them get more active.

Based on the research findings, the team have created and released the first of two mindfulness audio courses aiming to help people get into the habit of exercise.

Later in 2024, they will release a second guide, focused on sustaining their exercise habit.

“Mindfulness is an approach that can help us ‘train up’ the psychological strengths we need to exercise and be more in tune with our bodies, as well as make exercising more interesting and help us recognize its benefits,” said Remskar from the University’s Department of Health. “This may be because becoming more mindful prompts us to think differently about our lifestyle, makes us more accepting and less judgmental of our own shortcomings, which can help to build healthy habits. There is a huge potential to use mindfulness to unlock the positive benefits exercise can bring.”

For more information, visit www.bath.ac.uk.