Studies Show Mindfulness Can Help You Start and Stick with an Exercise Program
- Written by Nancy Hoi Wong OTD, OTR/L, RYT200
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Physical Activity has Psychological and Physical Benefits
Studies have shown that physical activity has many physical and psychological benefits. Staying physically active can increase happiness (Wang et al., 2012), improve health (Lee and Skerrett, 2001), and enhance quality of life (Penedo and Dahn, 2005).
Getting Started with a Problem Can Be Hard but Mindfulness Can Help
Dishman and Buckworth (1996) found that it is common for adults to quit an exercise program within the first 6 months of starting it, which decreases the chance for folks to fully receive the benefits of an exercise program. One factor that has been identified as helping people stick with an exercise program is satisfaction with physical activity.
In 2016 Tsafou et al. (2016) found that a mindfulness practice while you are exercising can increase
one’s sense of satisfaction with exercise, thereby helping one reinforce and sustain the habit of staying active. Other studies have found that mindfulness can also help bolster motivation to stay active and reported levels of enjoyment of exercise (Schneider et al., 2018).
Mindfulness not only helps with reinforcing habit, motivation, satisfaction and enjoyment of exercise, but can also help with dealing with the common challenges that come with physical activity: fatigue, discomfort, and overcoming obstacles (Schneider et al., 2018). This fact could be very helpful for those who have negative attitudes towards exercise or find exercise uncomfortable.
Mindfulness Meditation For Beginners
Use Deep Breathing to Gain Body Awareness
Download a Meditation App
Insight timer is a free app/website with an archive of guided meditations, longer talks teachings, sound healings, and other offerings.
Headspace is a paid subscription app/service which provides guided meditation instruction. There is currently some free offerings on their website to deal with stress and overwhelm connected to COVID-19.
Get Connected with a Local Meditation Group
Insight LA is a meditation center based in Los Angeles, which is now offering classes and group guided meditations online via teleconference platforms.
Group Yoga Classes at Femina Physical Therapy / Fusion Wellness and Physical Therapy
I will be offering yoga classes over Zoom throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Check out the Online Events Page or the Femina PT Instagram page for more information. Call the office at (818) 864-6732 to sign up!
Schneider, J., Malinowski, P., Watson, P. M., & Lattimore, P. (2018). The role of mindfulness in physical activity: a systematic review. Obesity Reviews. doi:10.1111/obr.12795
Tsafou, K.-E., De Ridder, D. T., van Ee, R., & Lacroix, J. P. (2016). Mindfulness and satisfaction in physical activity: A cross-sectional study in the Dutch population. Journal of Health Psychology, 21(9), 1817–1827. doi:10.1177/1359105314567207
Tsafou, K.-E., Lacroix, J. P., van Ee, R., Vinkers, C. D., & De Ridder, D. T. (2016). The relation of trait and state mindfulness with satisfaction and physical activity: A cross-sectional study in 305 Dutch participants. Journal of Health Psychology, 22(10), 1221–1232. doi:10.1177/1359105315624748
Wang F, Orpana HM, Morrison H, et al. (2012) Longterm association between leisure-time physical activity and changes in happiness: Analysis of the Prospective National Population Health Survey. American Journal of Epidemiology 176(12): 1095–1100
Lee IM and Skerrett PJ (2001) Physical activity and all-cause mortality: What is the dose-response relation? Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 33(6): S459–S471 (discussion S493–S494). Available at: http://www.ncbi. nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11427772
Penedo FJ and Dahn JR (2005) Exercise and wellbeing: A review of mental and physical health benefits associated with physical activity. Current Opinion in Psychiatry 18(2): 189–193
Dishman RK and Buckworth J (1996) Increasing physical activity: A quantitative synthesis. Medicine