Integrate exercise and mindfulness to improve mental health by 2024: Research

According to a new University of Bath study, if you’re hoping to start a new routine in 2024 to feel happier and more fit, combining exercise and mindfulness may be the key to success.

According to a study that was published in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity, the best life modifications for enhancing mood, wellbeing, and health involve both physical activity and mindfulness.

The psychological benefits of both mindfulness training and physical activity are well-established. Nevertheless, based on a review of previous studies, this is the first to demonstrate how combining the two can enhance their beneficial effects.

According to its findings, mindfulness can help people start exercising by encouraging them to do so in the first place and by helping them get over small discomforts or feelings of failure when they find exercise difficult.

A review of the literature revealed that mindfulness is a highly effective strategy for lowering stress, anxiety, and worry while also promoting happier, healthier lives. Both those with and without health conditions benefited from mindfulness’ positive effects on both physical and mental health.

The Medito Foundation, a mindfulness non-profit whose goal is to create a more mindful world, provided support for the study, which was led by psychologist Masha Remskar, who is based at the University of Bath and specializes in behavior modification, mindfulness, and exercise.

A free substitute for premium services like Headspace and Calm, the mindfulness meditation app created by Medito is available for download. It is working in conjunction with Bath to support individuals in becoming more active as well as to enhance their mental health.

The team has developed and launched the first of two mindfulness audio courses with the goal of assisting people in forming the exercise habit, based on the research findings. They plan to publish a second guide later in 2024 that will be centered on maintaining their fitness routine.

According to Masha Remskar of the University’s Department of Health,”Starting 2024 with a resolution to exercise more can have really positive physical and mental health benefits. But we know that starting out can be tough and that it can also be hard to stick with it over time.

“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.

“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.”

“Mindfulness mobile apps are a great way to boost our mental well-being,” said Steven Yorke, co-founder of Medito. Regrettably, businesses frequently erect paywalls, rendering mindfulness benefits unavailable to certain individuals.

“At Medito, we believe that meditation and mindfulness should be available free of charge, to anyone, forever. This is why our mindfulness app, Medito, is and always will be free.

“This collaboration with the University of Bath has been a great way to expand the range of mindfulness meditations we can offer, and it feels great to be at the cutting edge of mindfulness science while we do this.”

Building on these findings, a larger trial aimed at identifying the best times to combine mindfulness and exercise will soon be conducted by the team.

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