New study reveals the key to success: Combining mindfulness with exercise

Combining mindfulness with exercise has been found to be a key catalyst for lifting mood, improving health, and enhancing overall well-being, according to a new study.

While both physical activity and mindfulness practice individually have well-established psychological benefits, this study  from the University of Bath is among the first to illustrate how their positive effects can be amplified when integrated. By examining existing research studies, the findings highlight how mindfulness can motivate individuals to embark on their exercise journey, pushing past minor discomfort and feelings of failure.

Mindfulness has been proven to be highly effective in reducing worry, stress, and anxiety, while promoting healthier and happier lives. The benefits extend to both individuals with and without health issues, showcasing the potential for mindfulness to positively impact mental and physical health.

Leading this groundbreaking research is psychologist Masha Remskar, an esteemed expert in behavior change, mindfulness, and exercise from the University of Bath. The study received support from the Medito Foundation, a mindfulness non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating a more mindful world.

Medito, in collaboration with the University of Bath, has developed a mindfulness meditation app that provides a free alternative to paid services like Headspace and Calm. Their joint mission is to improve mental well-being and encourage a more active lifestyle.

Based on the research findings, published in the academic journal Mental Health and Physical Activity, the team has released the first of two mindfulness audio courses designed to help individuals establish a regular exercise routine. Later this year, a second guide will be unveiled, focusing on sustaining the exercise habit.

Masha Remskar from the University’s Department of Health emphasized, “Starting 2024 with a resolution to exercise more can have truly positive physical and mental health benefits. However, we understand that getting started can be challenging and maintaining consistency even more so.”

She continued, “Mindfulness offers an approach that enables us to strengthen the psychological resilience needed to exercise regularly and be more attuned to our bodies. It also makes exercising more engaging and helps us recognize its numerous benefits.”

Steven Yorke, co-founder of Medito, further emphasised the accessibility of mindfulness, stating, “Mindfulness mobile apps are a fantastic way to boost our mental well-being. Unfortunately, many companies restrict access with paywalls, preventing some from experiencing the benefits of mindfulness.” He added, “At Medito, we firmly believe that meditation and mindfulness should be freely available to everyone, forever. That’s why our mindfulness app, Medito, will always remain free. This collaboration with the University of Bath has allowed us to expand our range of mindfulness meditations, positioning us at the forefront of mindfulness science.”