By John Patterson
Staff Writer for Wake Up World
As we embark on a new year, many of us seek transformative ways to enhance our physical and mental well-being. A study from the University of Bath suggests that the key to a happier and healthier life lies in the seamless integration of mindfulness and exercise. Published in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity, this research reveals the profound impact of combining these two practices on lifting mood and improving overall well-being.
The Marriage of Mindfulness and Exercise
While the psychological benefits of both mindfulness and physical activity are well-documented, this study pioneers a fresh perspective by illustrating how their positive effects can be amplified when united. Psychologist Masha Remskar, an expert in behavior change, mindfulness, and exercise, led the research at the University of Bath, with support from the Medito Foundation—a mindfulness non-profit dedicated to fostering a more mindful world.
Mindfulness: The Catalyst for Exercise
The study’s findings unveil the pivotal role of mindfulness in motivating individuals to initiate physical activity and persist even when faced with challenges. Mindfulness acts as a powerful tool, helping individuals overcome minor pain, discomfort, or feelings of failure associated with exercise. Masha Remskar explains, “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.”
The Mindfulness Meditation App Revolutionizing Well-being
In collaboration with the University of Bath, the Medito Foundation has developed a free mindfulness meditation app as an alternative to paid services like Headspace and Calm. This app aims not only to enhance mental well-being but also to encourage physical activity. Steven Yorke, co-founder at Medito, emphasizes their commitment to making mindfulness accessible to all: “At Medito, we believe that meditation and mindfulness should be available free of charge, to anyone, forever.”
Bridging the Gap: Mindfulness Audio Courses
Based on the research, the collaborative team has released the first of two mindfulness audio courses designed to help individuals develop a regular exercise routine. These courses leverage mindfulness to reshape perceptions, making exercise more engaging and reinforcing its benefits. Later in 2024, a second guide will be released, focusing on sustaining the exercise habit cultivated through mindfulness.
Looking Ahead: A Promising Future
The findings have laid the foundation for a larger trial to assess the optimal moments for combining exercise and mindfulness. The team is poised to delve deeper into the effectiveness of this integrative approach, promising further insights that could revolutionize how we approach health and well-being.
In the words of Masha Remskar, “There is a huge potential to use mindfulness to unlock the positive benefits exercise can bring.” As we embark on the journey of 2024, the fusion of mindfulness and exercise emerges as a transformative path towards a happier, healthier, and more mindful existence.
- Masha Remskar, Max J. Western, Emma L. Osborne, Olivia M. Maynard, Ben Ainsworth. Effects of combining physical activity with mindfulness on mental health and wellbeing: Systematic review of complex interventions. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 2024; 26: 100575 DOI: 10.1016/j.mhpa.2023.100575
About the author:
John Patterson is an avid writer and researcher who delves into the latest scientific research. With an insatiable curiosity, he translates complex concepts into accessible narratives, allowing readers to embark on a journey of discovery. Through his work, John bridges the gap between experts and the public, igniting curiosity and inspiring meaningful conversations about scientific breakthroughs.