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Physical activity, mindfulness to enhance mental health: study health news

Want to start 2024 with a new workout routine to feel fitter and happier? A new study suggests combining mindfulness with exercise. The study, published in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity, suggests that life changes that combine both physical activity and mindfulness are most effective at lifting mood and improving health and well-being.

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

However, in a review of existing research studies, this is the first to show how the two combined can increase the positive effects, said researchers at the University of Bath in the UK.

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Findings suggest that mindfulness can help unlock exercise by helping motivate people to get started in the first place, overcoming minor pain, discomfort or feelings of failure when exercise becomes difficult.

“Starting 2024 with a resolution to exercise more can have really positive physical and mental health benefits. But we know that getting started can be difficult and sticking to it over time,” says Masha Remsker, an expert. Behavior Change, Mindfulness and Exercise at the University Health Department.

Mindfulness is a method that can help us ‘train’ the mental energies we need to exercise and become more in tune with our bodies, as well as making exercise more enjoyable and helping us recognize its benefits.

Remsker explains that “being more mindful prompts us to think differently about our lifestyles, to be more accepting and less judgmental of our own flaws, which can help develop healthy habits”.

“There is a huge potential for using mindfulness to unlock the positive benefits that exercise can bring,” he noted.

The team now aims to begin conducting a larger trial to determine the efficacy and optimal intervention moments for combining exercise and mindfulness.

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