Reduce Depression in Older Adults with Mind-Body Practices and Exercise

Reduce Depression in Older Adults with Mind-Body Practices and Exercise

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Complementary use of mindful exercise, such as Tai Chi and yogic meditation, can improve clinical outcomes of mood disorders in older adults-as demonstrated in brain scans, biomarkers of cellular aging, and mental health rating scales.” – Arline Kaplan

 

The aging process involves a systematic progressive decline in every system in the body, the brain included. This includes our cognitive (mental) abilities and mood. It is inevitable and cannot be avoided. There is some hope for age related decline, however, as there is evidence that it can be slowed. There are some indications that physical and mental exercise can reduce the rate of decline. For example, contemplative practices such as meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi or qigong have all been shown to be beneficial in slowing or delaying physical and mental decline with aging and with improving depression. The research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to pause and review and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Aerobic, resistance, and mind-body exercise are equivalent to mitigate symptoms of depression in older adults: A systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191520/ ) Miller and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness of mind-body practices, aerobic exercise, and resistance exercise on depression in older adults (over 65 years of age). They identified 69 published research studies including a total of 5,379 elderly participants.

 

They report that the published research found that in comparison to usual care, wait-list controls, or attention controls that mind-body practices, aerobic exercise, and resistance exercise all significantly reduced depression in the elderly participants. Although no significant differences were found between the practices, on average, the effectiveness of the practices were rank ordered mind-body practices followed by aerobic exercise followed by resistance exercise.

 

All three practices involve exercise. Mind-body practices include yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong all of which provide gentle mild exercise intensity. Aerobic exercise on the other hand provides moderate intensity exercise. This suggests that the intensity of exercise is not important for the relief of depression. What does appear to be important is that exercise be incorporated into the activities of the elderly to raise mood and reduce depression. Hence, the results suggest that the depression that is common in the elderly can be ameliorated with exercise.

 

So, reduce depression in older adults with mind-body practices and exercise.

 

Higher physical activity levels among older adults in particular may have a preventive effect on the development of depression.36 Recent findings point to the potential efficacy of exercise as a treatment of depression in older adults, in some cases with similar efficacy to antidepressants.” – Maren Nyer

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Miller, K. J., Areerob, P., Hennessy, D., Gonçalves-Bradley, D. C., Mesagno, C., & Grace, F. (2020). Aerobic, resistance, and mind-body exercise are equivalent to mitigate symptoms of depression in older adults: A systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. F1000Research, 9, 1325. https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.27123.2

 

Abstract

Background: Exercise has been identified as an allied health strategy that can support the management of depression in older adults, yet the relative effectiveness for different exercise modalities is unknown. To meet this gap in knowledge, we present a systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to examine the head-to-head effectiveness of aerobic, resistance, and mind-body exercise to mitigate depressive symptoms in adults aged ≥ 65 years.

Methods: A PRISMA-NMA compliant review was undertaken on RCTs from inception to September 12 th, 2019. PubMed, Web of Science, CINAHL, Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition, PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO, and SPORTDiscus were systematically searched for eligible RCTs enrolling adults with a mean age ≥ 65 years, comparing one or more exercise intervention arms, and which used valid measures of depressive symptomology. Comparative effectiveness was evaluated using network meta-analysis to combine direct and indirect evidence, controlling for inherent variation in trial control groups.

Results: The systematic review included 82 RCTs, with 69 meeting eligibility for the network meta-analysis ( n = 5,379 participants). Pooled analysis found each exercise type to be effective compared with controls (Hedges’ g = -0.27 to -0.51). Relative head-to-head comparisons were statistically comparable between exercise types: resistance versus aerobic (Hedges’ g = -0.06, PrI = -0.91, 0.79), mind-body versus aerobic (Hedges’ g = -0.12, PrI = -0.95, 0.72), mind-body versus resistance (Hedges’ g = -0.06, PrI = -0.90, 0.79). High levels of compliance were demonstrated for each exercise treatment.

Conclusions: Aerobic, resistance, and mind-body exercise demonstrate equivalence to mitigate symptoms of depression in older adults aged ≥ 65 years, with comparably encouraging levels of compliance to exercise treatment. These findings coalesce with previous findings in clinically depressed older adults to encourage personal preference when prescribing exercise for depressive symptoms in older adults.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191520/

 

Improve Athletic Endurance with Mindfulness

Improve Athletic Endurance with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

endurance athletes. In fact, endurance sport could be considered a perfect meditative state to use these techniques, as it encourages a state of flow due to the repetitiveness of marathon running in particular. “ – Charlotte Griffin

 

Athletic performance requires the harmony of mind and body. Excellence is in part physical and in part psychological. That is why an entire profession of Sports Psychology has developed. “In sport psychology, competitive athletes are taught psychological strategies to better cope with a number of demanding challenges related to psychological functioning.” They use a number of techniques to enhance performance including mindfulness training. It has been shown to improve attention and concentration and emotion regulation and reduces anxiety and worry and rumination, and the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, mindfulness training has been employed by athletes and even by entire teams to enhance their performance.

 

In today’s Research News article “On Mindfulness Training for Promoting Mental Toughness of Female College Students in Endurance Exercise.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8410402/ ) Wang and colleagues recruited female college athletes and randomly assigned them to receive once a weeks for 8-weeks of either 90 minutes of mindfulness training or classroom studies. They were measured before and after training for mindfulness and psychological toughness. They then performed an 800-meter run followed by a measure of subjective fatigue.

 

They found that after training there were significant increases in mindfulness and mental toughness (including tenacity, strength, and optimism) in the mindfulness trained group but not the control group. After the 800-meter run there was a significant reduction in perceived exercise intensity in the mindfulness group but not the control group.

 

The results suggest that mindfulness training improves the mental toughness and reduces perceived exercise intensity in female college athletes. The researchers did not explore the mechanisms by which mindfulness produced these benefits but prior research has demonstrated that mindfulness training improves pain tolerance. This may be why the athletes found the 800-meter run to be lower in exercise intensity than the control group.

 

So, improve athletic endurance with mindfulness.

 

“The mindfulness group significantly improved their time to exhaustion, indicating a benefit to endurance exercise performance.” – Training4Endurance

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wang, Y., Tian, J., & Yang, Q. (2021). On Mindfulness Training for Promoting Mental Toughness of Female College Students in Endurance Exercise. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2021, 5596111. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/5596111

 

Abstract

Objective

The aim of this study was to examine the promoting effects of mindfulness training on female college students’ mental toughness in endurance exercise.

Methods

A cluster sampling method was used to select 60 female college students as subjects. Based on the body mass index (BMI), stratified randomization was used to divide them into the mindfulness-training group and the control group. Participants in mindfulness-training group had an 8-week mindfulness training, while participants in control group waited. Before and after training, Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ) and Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) were used for pretest and posttest, and paired t-test and covariance analysis were performed on pretest and posttest between-group data.

Results

(1) Paired t-test results showed the posttest scores (26.67 ± 3.56; 20.97 ± 3.66; 126.53 ± 8.59) of the three dimensions of description, nonresponse and FFMQ total score of the mindfulness-training group were higher than the pretest scores (25.53 ± 3.74; 19.23 ± 3.59; 121.43 ± 6.78). Statistical significance was shown in their differences (t = −2.25; −2.70; −3.25, p < 0.05). However, there was no statistical significance in the pretest and posttest of control group. The covariance analyses showed the posttest scores of the mindfulness-training group in three dimensions of description, nonresponse, and FFMQ were higher than the posttest scores of the control group. Statistical significance was shown in their differences (F = 6.55; 6.08; 5.91; p < 0.05). (2) Paired t-test showed posttest scores (46.50 ± 5.93; 30.40 ± 3.75; 15.00 ± 2.34) were significantly higher than pretest scores (42.60 ± 7.68; 26.50 ± 4.32; 12.87 ± 2.51) in all dimensions of the mental toughness of the mindfulness-training group. Statistical significance was shown in their differences (t = −3.135, −4.765, −4.922, p < 0.01). However, there was no significant difference in the pretest and posttest scores in all dimensions of the mental toughness of the control group. The covariance analysis showed that the posttest scores of all dimensions of the mental toughness of the mindfulness-training group were higher than those of the control group, and the differences were statistically significant (F = 11.133, 12.101, 16.053, all p < 0.001). (3) Paired t-test showed that the posttest score of the mindfulness-training group on exercise intensity perception immediately after 800-meter endurance run (5.67 ± 2.61) was lower than the pretest score (7.03 ± 1.24) and the difference was statistically significant (t = 4.18, p < 0.001), while the difference was not statistically significant in the control group. The covariance analysis showed that the posttest score of the mindfulness-training group on exercise intensity perception was lower than that of the control group, and the difference was statistically significant (F = 15.81, p < 0.001).

Conclusion

Mindfulness training improved the level of female college students’ mindfulness and mental toughness in their endurance sports, while reducing the fatigue feeling of female college students in endurance sports.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8410402/

 

Mindfulness Increases Resiliency During a Pandemic

Mindfulness Increases Resiliency During a Pandemic

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“These are trying times, but incorporating mindful practices into your daily routine can help calm anxiety and build healthy coping skills.” – Rae Jacobson

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress both for frontline workers but also for people simply isolating at home. Mindfulness is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. So, mindfulness training may be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Physical Activity and Mindfulness on Resilience and Depression During the First Wave of COVID-19 Pandemic..” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.700742/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1696300_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210803_arts_A ) Antonini and colleagues used emails to recruit adults who were engaged in either exercise or mindfulness practice during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in Switzerland. They had them complete measures of resilience and depression at two different times during the lockdown.

 

They found that mindfulness practitioners had significantly lower resilience than exercisers and that had women had significantly lower resilience and greater depression than men. They also found that the resilience of the mindfulness group significantly increased from the first to the second measurement while the exercisers did not. But the depression of the exercise group significantly declined from the first to the second measurement while the mindfulness group did not. Overall, the higher the levels of resilience the lower the levels of depression at both measurement times.

 

These are interesting results but are correlational, so no conclusions regarding causation can be reached. The results suggest that resilience tends to counteract depression. They also suggest that mindfulness practitioners are initially less resilient during a stressful time than exercisers but that they increase in resilience as the lockdown continues. On the other hand, exercisers decrease in depression over the same period of time.

 

Dealing with a public health emergency lockdown can be extremely stressful and requires resilience in the face of the stress to effectively deal with it. Mindfulness appears to allow for a growth in resilience making the practitioners better able to cope. On the other hand, exercise appears to help with the depression resulting from the lockdown. Unfortunately, they did not look at mindfulness practitioners who were also exercisers to observe if the combination has additive benefits.

 

So, mindfulness increases resiliency during a pandemic.

 

mindfulness meditation might be a viable low-cost intervention to mitigate the psychological impact of the COVID-19 crisis and future pandemics.” – Julie Lei Zhu

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Antonini Philippe R, Schwab L and Biasutti M (2021) Effects of Physical Activity and Mindfulness on Resilience and Depression During the First Wave of COVID-19 Pandemic. Front. Psychol. 12:700742. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.700742

 

The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic generated a significant number of stressors that the Swiss population had to deal with. In order to cope with and adapt to such adversity, it is essential to have protective factors that allow for resilience. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of mindfulness and physical activity on depression and resilience during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. A quantitative method was adopted asking participants who were engaged in physical activity or mindfulness to fill a battery of measures of depression and resilience and some demographic questions. The results showed that mindfulness practice strengthened the initial level of resilience of practitioners, suggesting that mindfulness meditation is a tool for coping with adversity during a potentially traumatic event. Conversely, physical activity practitioners maintained a stable resilience score over time, suggesting that exposure to adversity did not disrupt their state of biopsychospiritual homeostasis. Moreover, being physically active decreased the depression score over time. Regarding demographic variables, gender differences were observed in the average scores in the resilience scale and in the Depression Inventory.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.700742/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_1696300_a0P58000000G0YfEAK_Psycho_20210803_arts_A

 

Improve Attention in Older Individuals with Exercise and Mindfulness

Improve Attention in Older Individuals with Exercise and Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“engaging in mindfulness meditation training improves the maintenance of goal-directed visuospatial attention and may be a useful strategy for counteracting cognitive decline associated with aging.” – Peter Malinowski

 

One of the primary effects of mindfulness training is an improvement in the ability to pay attention to the task at hand and ignore interfering stimuli. This is an important consequence of mindfulness training and produces improvements in thinking, reasoning, and creativity. The importance of heightened attentional ability to the individual’s ability to navigate the demands of complex modern life cannot be overstated. It helps in school, at work, in relationships, or simply driving a car. As important as attention is, it’s surprising that little is known about the mechanisms by which mindfulness improves attention

 

There is evidence that mindfulness training improves attention by altering the brain. It appears That mindfulness training increases the size, connectivity, and activity of areas of the brain that are involved in paying attention. A common method to study the activity of the nervous system is to measure the electrical signal at the scalp above brain regions. Changes in this activity are measurable with mindfulness training.

 

One method to observe attentional processing in the brain is to measure the changes in the electrical activity that occur in response to specific stimuli. These are called event-related, or evoked, potentials or ERPs. The signal following a stimulus changes over time. The fluctuations of the signal after specific periods of time are thought to measure different aspects of the nervous system’s processing of the stimulus. The N2 response in the evoked potential (ERP) is a negative going electrical response occurring between a 1 to 3 tenths of a second following the target stimulus presentation. The N2 component is thought to reflect cognitive control. The P3 response is a positive going electrical response occurring between a 3 to 6 tenths of a second following the target. The P3 component is thought to reflect attentional processing.

 

In today’s Research News article “Behavioral and ERP Correlates of Long-Term Physical and Mental Training on a Demanding Switch Task.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7940199/ ) Burgos and colleagues recruited healthy adults aged 44-65 years. They were separated into groups of participants who practiced for at least 5 years either Tai Chi, Meditation, aerobic exercise, meditation and exercise, or were sedentary. The participants performed a visuospatial task switch test that required the participants to respond to the position of a dot on a screen with the same or opposite hand or to switch back and forth between the two after 2 trials. This measures executive attention. As they were performing the task the electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded and the evoked potentials to the dot recorded.

 

They found that on the visuospatial task switch test the Tai Chi and Meditation plus exercise groups performed best, the aerobic exercise group intermediate, and the sedentary group worst. Performance was measured by the reaction times on the switch trials and also on the proportionate change in reaction times on switch trials. In the evoked potentials in the frontal and parietal cortical areas, the groups that had mental plus physical training (Tai Chi and Meditation plus exercise groups) had significantly larger N2 responses on switch trials than the meditation or exercise alone groups. They also found that the larger the N2 response the better the performance on the switch task.

 

These are interesting results. But the groups were composed of people who chose to engage in these differing activities and the groups may be composed of people who differ in other ways other than the chosen activity. It would be best in future research if random assignment and training were used. Nevertheless, the results suggest that executive attention is best in people who practice mental and physical exercises. These are superior to either alone and particularly superior to being sedentary.  It was not studied here, but the better performance in attentional ability would predict better overall performance in life and resistance to the mental decline with aging.

 

Both the performance on the task and the N2 responses reflect better executive control of attention. This means that the participants who performed both mindfulness and physical exercise improved their ability to control attention. Mindfulness practices such as Tai Chi and meditation are known to alter the brain and improve attention. But the reason why exercise supplements these benefits is unknown. It is possible that exercise isn’t responsible for improvement but that sedentariness is responsible for deterioration and exercise acts to prevent this deterioration. Nevertheless, the results are clear mindfulness plus physical activity alters the brain in such a way as to improve the individual’s ability to control attention.

 

So, improve attention in older individuals with exercise and mindfulness.

 

mindfulness may be a way to improve our cognitive control as we age by teaching us to improve our ability to focus our attention on a particular task.” – Holy Tiret

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Burgos, P. I., Cruz, G., Hawkes, T., Rojas-Sepúlveda, I., & Woollacott, M. (2021). Behavioral and ERP Correlates of Long-Term Physical and Mental Training on a Demanding Switch Task. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 569025. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.569025

 

Abstract

Physical and mental training are associated with positive effects on executive functions throughout the lifespan. However, evidence of the benefits of combined physical and mental regimes over a sedentary lifestyle remain sparse. The goal of this study was to investigate potential mechanisms, from a source-resolved event-related-potential perspective, that could explain how practicing long-term physical and mental exercise can benefit neural processing during the execution of an attention switching task. Fifty-three healthy community volunteers who self-reported long-term practice of Tai Chi (n = 10), meditation + exercise (n = 16), simple aerobics (n = 15), or a sedentary lifestyle (n = 12), aged 47.8 ± 14.6 (SD) were included in this analysis. All participants undertook high-density electroencephalography recording during a switch paradigm. Our results indicate that people who practice physical and mental exercise perform better in a task-switching paradigm. Our analysis revealed an additive effect of the combined practice of physical and mental exercise over physical exercise only. In addition, we confirmed the participation of frontal, parietal and cingulate areas as generators of event-related-potential components (N2-like and P3-like) commonly associated to the performance of switch tasks. Particularly, the N2-like component of the parietal and frontal domains showed significantly greater amplitudes in the exercise and mental training groups compared with aerobics and sedentary groups. Furthermore, we showed better performance associated with greater N2-like amplitudes. Our multivariate analysis revealed that activity type was the most relevant factor to explain the difference between groups, with an important influence of age, and body mass index, and with small effects of educational years, cardiovascular capacity, and sex. These results suggest that chronic combined physical and mental training may confer significant benefits to executive function in normally aging adults, probably through more efficient early attentional processing. Future experimental studies are needed to confirm our results and understand the mechanisms on parieto-frontal networks that contribute to the cognitive improvement associated with practicing combined mental and aerobic exercise, while carefully controlling confounding factors, such as age and body mass index.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7940199/

 

 

Meditation and Exercise Practices can be Maintained Long-Term after Training Completion

Meditation and Exercise Practices can be Maintained Long-Term after Training Completion

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Maintaining your meditation practice after the course has finished is often a struggle. Without the structure of a follow-on course it’s easy to lose track, stop practising and get down-hearted and even give up.”

 

Over the last several decades, research and anecdotal experiences have accumulated an impressive evidential case that the development of mindfulness has positive benefits for the individual’s mental, physical, and spiritual life. Mindfulness appears to be beneficial both for healthy people and for people suffering from a myriad of illnesses. It appears to be beneficial across ages, from children to the elderly. And it appears to be beneficial across genders, personalities, race, and ethnicity. The breadth and depth of benefits is unprecedented. There is no other treatment or practice that has been shown to come anyway near the range of mindfulness’ positive benefits. With impacts so great it is important to know how to maintain mindfulness practice over the long run.

 

Exercise can also improve emotions and their regulation.  But like mindfulness training it must be sustained over time. It is unclear, however, exactly what kind of training is essential to produce a sustainable mindfulness or exercise practice. People can differ greatly and it is also important to determine which people are most likely to sustain practice and which not.

 

In today’s Research News article “Predictors of Mindfulness Meditation and Exercise Practice, from MEPARI-2, a randomized controlled trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6959135/ ) Barrett and colleagues recruited meditation naïve, non-exercising adults who have had at least one cold per year. They were randomly assigned to either a wait-list control condition or to receive 8 weeks of training in either Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or progressive moderate intensity exercise. MBSR was taught in 8 weekly, 2.5 hour, sessions and employed discussion, breath following and body scan meditations, and yoga. progressive moderate intensity exercise was taught in weekly classes and was tailored to the individual employing a combination of walking, jogging, cycling, and exercise machines. Each program incorporated 20-45 minutes of daily practice. They were measured before and after training and every 2 months thereafter for a year for physical activity, mental and physical health, perceived stress, depression, exercise self-efficacy, mindful self-efficacy, positive and negative emotions, mindfulness, feeling loved, social support, and the big 5 personality traits of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Throughout the program the participants reported their daily practice minutes.

 

They found that meditation in the meditation group and exercise in the exercise group was high after training and remained high over the subsequent 13 weeks. They also found that the higher the baseline measures of mental health, smoking, and the personality characteristic of openness and the lower the levels of depression, the greater the weekly average minutes of meditation practice. In addition, the higher the baseline measures of exercise, mindful self-efficacy, and overall physical activity and the lower the levels of perceived stress and neuroticism, the greater the weekly average minutes of exercise practice.

 

These results are remarkable and potentially important in that they demonstrated that meditation practice and exercise practice can be maintained over extended periods time after the completion of training. The authors speculate that the daily reports of practice may have contributed to the maintenance of practice. Maintenance of practice is important to maintain benefits. So, this suggests that with appropriate training and reporting, the benefits of meditation and exercise can be sustained.

 

It would appear that participant characteristics affected the likelihood of practice maintenance. For meditation participants who were smokers, had good mental health, had personalities characterized by openness and were low in depression were likely to maintain high levels of meditation practice while participants who at the beginning were exercisers with high self-efficacy and who were less stressed and neurotic were likely to maintain high levels of exercise practice.

 

So, meditation and exercise practices can be maintained long-term after training completion.

 

Meditation reveals its gifts when practiced consistently and preferably daily. Our beings need to be conditioned spiritually much like fitness.” – Andrew Shykofski

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Barrett, B., Torres, E. R., Meyer, J., Barnet, J. H., & Brown, R. (2019). Predictors of Mindfulness Meditation and Exercise Practice, from MEPARI-2, a randomized controlled trial. Mindfulness, 10(9), 1842–1854. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01137-3

 

Abstract

Objectives:

Health-supporting behaviors can be challenging to initiate and maintain. Data from the MEPARI-2 randomized trial were used to assess predictors of sustained exercise and meditation practice.

Methods:

Adults aged 30 to 69 years not exercising regularly and without prior meditation training were randomized to 8-week trainings in mindfulness meditation, moderate intensity exercise, or observational control, and monitored for 8 months. Exercise participants reported day-to-day minutes of moderate and vigorous activity; mindfulness meditation participants reported minutes of informal and formal practice. Demographic characteristics and psychosocial factors were assessed as predictors of practice. Growth mixture modeling was used to identify higher and lower practice subgroups.

Results:

413 participants (75.8% female; mean (SD) age 49.7 (11.6) years) were randomized to exercise (137), mindfulness meditation (138), or control (138), with 390 (95%) completing the study. Seventy-nine percent of exercisers and 62% of meditators reported ≥150 minutes/week practice for at least half of the 37 weeks monitored. Self-reported minutes of mindfulness meditation and/or exercise practice were significantly (p<0.01) predicted by baseline levels of: general mental health, self-efficacy, perceived stress, depressive symptoms, openness, neuroticism, physical activity, smoking status, and number of social contacts. Growth mixture modeling identified subsets of people with moderate (100–200 min/week) and high (300–450 min/week) levels of self-reported practice for both mindfulness meditation (62% moderate; 38% high) and exercise (71% moderate; 29% high).

Conclusions:

In this sample, participants randomized to behavioral trainings reported high levels of practice sustained over 37 weeks. Baseline psychosocial measures predicted practice levels in expected directions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6959135/

 

Yoga is the Preferred Exercise for the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

Yoga is the Preferred Exercise for the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

By increasing muscle mass through strengthening poses, yoga can improve your metabolism, helping you maintain a healthy body weight. Studies suggest that regular practice helps normalize blood pressure and cholesterol levels. By inducing a feeling of calm, yoga can lower the release of cortisol, a stress hor­mone that causes your body to release more glucose. Less unnecessary cortisol means fewer unnecessary elevations in blood sugar.” – Annie Kay

 

Diabetes is a major health issue. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States and nearly 600 million people worldwide have diabetes and the numbers are growing. Type II Diabetes results from a resistance of tissues, especially fat tissues, to the ability of insulin to promote the uptake of glucose from the blood. As a result, blood sugar levels rise producing hyperglycemia. Diabetes is heavily associated with other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and circulatory problems leading to amputations. As a result, diabetes doubles the risk of death of any cause compared to individuals of the same age without diabetes.

 

Type 2 diabetes is a common and increasingly prevalent illness that is largely preventable. One of the reasons for the increasing incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is its association with overweight and obesity which is becoming epidemic in the industrialized world. A leading cause of this is a sedentary life style. Unlike Type I Diabetes, Type II does not require insulin injections. Instead, the treatment and prevention of Type 2 Diabetes focuses on diet, exercise, and weight control. Recently, mindfulness practices have been shown to be helpful in managing diabetes. A mindfulness practice that combines mindfulness with exercise is yoga and it has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of Type II Diabetes.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Yoga and Exercise on Glycemic Control and Psychosocial Parameters in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized Controlled Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7336951/ ) Singh and Khandelwal recruited adult patients with Type 2 Diabetes and randomly assigned them to either an exercise or yoga practice group. Exercise was practiced for 30 minutes 5 days per week for 3 months and consisted of walking and moderate aerobic exercise combined with diet. The yoga group were trained in postures and breathing exercises for 2 weeks and then practiced at home for 3 months. They were measured before and after training for anxiety, depression, diabetes quality of life and self-efficacy. They also had blood drawn for assessment of glycemic control (HbA1c).

 

They found that following training both groups had significant decreases in anxiety, depression, and HbA1c and significant increases in diabetes quality of life and self-efficacy. But the yoga group had significantly better outcomes on all measures compared to the diet and exercise group.

 

These results suggest that practicing yoga is better for the psychological and physical health of patients with Type 2 Diabetes than non-yoga exercises. Yoga practice not only improved psychological health but also glycemic control suggesting better control of the disease. The fact that yoga was superior in effectiveness to non-yoga exercise is important as yoga is both a mindfulness practice and an exercise. So, the results suggest that adding mindfulness to exercise potentiates the programs effectiveness in treating patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

 

Hence, yoga is the preferred exercise for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.

 

I recommend yoga primarily for stress management. Stress elevates blood sugar, which can lead to more diabetes complications. Yoga helps us center ourselves, and centering calms us and can help keep blood sugar levels balanced.” – Janet Zappe

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Vijay Pratap Singh, Bidita Khandelwal. Effect of Yoga and Exercise on Glycemic Control and Psychosocial Parameters in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized Controlled Study. Int J Yoga. 2020 May-Aug; 13(2): 144–151. Published online 2020 May 1. doi: 10.4103/ijoy.IJOY_45_19

 

Abstract

Context (Background):

Type 2 diabetes has been strongly associated with psychosocial factors such as stress, anxiety, depression, and quality of life (QOL). There is not much evidence whether yoga can improve these factors and motivate individuals to engage in active lifestyle.

Aims:

This study aims to evaluate the effect of yoga and exercise over glycemic control, anxiety, depression, exercise self-efficacy (ESE), and QOL after 3-month program.

Methods:

Two hundred and twenty-seven individuals were randomly allocated to yoga group (YG) and exercise group. YG practiced yoga for 2 weeks under supervision and then carried out practice at home for 3 months. The exercise group practiced 30 min of brisk walking for 5 days a week.

Results:

On comparison among the groups, in YG, there was a mean change of 0.47 in glycated hemoglobin which was greater than mean reduction of 0.28 in the exercise group with P < 0.05. State anxiety reduced by 7.8 and trait anxiety reduced by 4.4 in YG (P < 0.05) in 3 months as compared to nonsignificant reductions of 3 and 1 in mean of state and trait anxiety scores in the exercise group (P > 0.05). There was a statistically significant reduction in depression score in both the groups, 8.6 in yoga and 4.0 in exercise, which was greater in YG. ESE improved by 19.2 in YG (P < 0.05), whereas it improved only 2.2 in the exercise group (P > 0.05). QOL improved by 23.7 in YG and 3.0 in the exercise group which was nonsignificant in the exercise group as compared to YG.

Conclusions:

Yoga is superior to exercise alone as a lifestyle modification program in improving glycemic control, anxiety, depression, and QOL as well as ESE.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7336951/

 

Meditation and Yogic Breathing Techniques Improve Respiration and Psychological Well-Being

Meditation and Yogic Breathing Techniques Improve Respiration and Psychological Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Yoga, meditation and other relaxation techniques all depend on focusing on the breath. There are many benefits of meditation and proper breathing is an important part of learning how to calm the mind and body.” – Home Care Assistance

 

Breathing is essential for life and generally occurs automatically. It’s easy to take for granted as it’s been there our entire lives. Nevertheless, we become more aware of it when it varies with circumstances, such as when we exercise and also in emotional states, especially fear and anxiety. But we rarely notice it during everyday ongoing life. Yet, its characteristics are associated with our state of well-being. Slow deep breathing is characteristic of a healthy relaxed state. Breathing exercises are common in yoga and meditation practices and have been found to have a number of beneficial effects.

 

Modern medicine has also developed respiratory therapies for the treatment of patients with cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. Many of these techniques are similar to those practiced in meditation and yoga. In today’s Research News article “Analogy between classical Yoga/Zen breathing and modern clinical respiratory therapy.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7429199/) Tobe and Saito examine the similarities of meditation and yoga breathing exercises and respiratory therapies and their relative effects.

 

Respiratory therapy has been shown to be essential in the treatment of respiratory diseases. But, breathing techniques are not new. They’ve been practiced for over 3000 years. Yoga incorporates a number of different techniques. Even the Buddha emphasized breathing techniques during meditation and these were greatly elaborated on in Zen meditation. There are considerable similarities with respiratory therapy and meditation and yogic breathing techniques. They all emphasize deep inhalation, slow exhalation with some resistance, low respiratory frequency, and even counting of breaths.

 

Tobe and Saito note that research has shown that meditation and yogic breathing techniques, like respiratory therapy, have considerable positive effects on respiration including improved “vital capacity, timed vital capacity, maximum voluntary ventilation, breath-hold time, maximal inspiratory and expiratory pressures and oxygen saturation.” They also increase the psychological well-being of practitioners including reducing panic attacks, depression, and headaches, relieving pain, and improving sleep.

 

Tobe and Saito conclude that meditation and yogic breathing techniques are effective in modern clinical practice improving respiratory function and psychological well-being, and relieving chronic pain. Indeed, research on meditation and yogic breathing techniques suggest that they improve physiological and respiratory function and are effective for the treatment of a number of diseases and psychological problems.

 

So, meditation and yogic breathing techniques improve respiration and psychological well-being.

 

By inducing stress resilience, breath work enables us to rapidly and compassionately relieve many forms of suffering.” – Richard Brown

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Tobe, M., & Saito, S. (2020). Analogy between classical Yoga/Zen breathing and modern clinical respiratory therapy. Journal of anesthesia, 1–6. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00540-020-02840-5

 

Abstract

Anesthesiologists and intensivists are modern-day professionals who provide appropriate respiratory care, vital for patient survival. Recently, anesthesiologists have increasingly focused their attention on the type of spontaneous breathing made by non-intubated patients with pulmonary disease cared for in an intensive care unit, and also patients with chronic pain receiving cognitive behavioral therapy. Prior to our modern understanding of respiratory physiology, Zen meditators recognized that breathing has a significant impact on a person’s mental state and general physical well-being. Examples of this knowledge regarding respiration include the beneficial effects of deep inhalation and slow exhalation on anxiety and general wellness. The classical literature has noted many suggestions for breathing and its psycho-physical effects. In the present review, we examine the effect of classical breathing methods and find an analogy between typical Yoga/Zen breathing and modern clinical respiratory therapy. Evidence is increasing about historical breathing and related meditation techniques that may be effective in modern clinical practice, especially in the field of anesthesiology, such as in improving respiratory function and reducing chronic pain. Clarification of the detailed mechanisms involved is anticipated.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7429199/

 

Improve the Physical Fitness of Children and Adolescents with Intellectual Disorders with Tai Chi

Improve the Physical Fitness of Children and Adolescents with Intellectual Disorders with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

giving a child beginner skills can be life changing. Qi Gong has the power to bring one physical ease, mental clarity, emotional stability and spiritual awareness. That is worthwhile at any age.” – Donna Henderson

 

Intellectual disabilities involve below average intelligence and relatively slow learning. They are quite common, affecting an estimated 10% of individuals worldwide. These disabilities present problems for the children in learning mathematics, reading and writing. These difficulties, in turn, affect performance in other academic disciplines. The presence of intellectual disabilities can have serious consequences for the psychological well-being of the children, including their self-esteem and social skills. In addition, anxiety, depression, and conduct disorders often accompany learning disabilities. Not as well known is that children with intellectual disabilities also have motor problems.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to improve attentionmemory, and learning and increase success in school. Exercise has been shown to improve psychomotor performance in children with intellectual disabilities.  Tai Chi practice is both an exercise and a mindfulness practice. It has been found to be effective for an array of physical and psychological issues. So, it makes sense to examine Tai Chi practice for children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities.

 

In today’s Research News article “Tai Chi as an Alternative Exercise to Improve Physical Fitness for Children and Adolescents with Intellectual Disability.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6479776/), Kong and colleagues recruited children and adolescents (aged 10-18 years) who had an intellectual disability (IQ < 70). They were randomly assigned to either no treatment, or to 12 weeks of twice a week 1 hour of either aerobic dance exercise, or Tai Chi training. They were measured before and after training for body size, body fat, flexibility, balance, coordination in upper and lower extremities, muscular strength (grip strength), leg power, muscular endurance, and cardiorespiratory fitness.

 

They found that the aerobic dance was more strenuous (heart rate mean of 105 beats per minute) than Tai Chi practice (heart rate mean of 97 beats per minute). Compared to baseline the aerobic dance group had significant increases in body mass index, sit-ups, and 6-min walk test. The Tai Chi group had significant increases in vertical jump, lower-limb coordination, and upper-limb coordination, and balance.

 

These results demonstrate that exercise is beneficial for children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities helping them overcome some of their motor problems. Aerobic dance and Tai Chi practice are both beneficial, but have different physical benefits. Aerobic dance appears to increase body size and fitness while Tai Chi practice appears to improve leg strength and limb coordination as well as balance. It would probably make sense in the future to combine the two exercises into a single program to produce maximum benefits. These programs may be very helpful for the children and adolescents in correcting motor problems. It was not tested but this could improve their self-esteem.

 

So, improve the physical fitness of children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities with Tai Chi.

 

“Kids with special needs benefit from Tai Chi.  Because Tai Chi works on the inside of the body it helps to relieve the sense of inner turmoil and confusion that gets us off balance.  It can alleviate stomachaches, nervousness, fear, anger and frustration.  It helps improve focus, concentration and self-control.” – Cari Shurman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Kong, Z., Sze, T. M., Yu, J. J., Loprinzi, P. D., Xiao, T., Yeung, A. S., … Zou, L. (2019). Tai Chi as an Alternative Exercise to Improve Physical Fitness for Children and Adolescents with Intellectual Disability. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(7), 1152. doi:10.3390/ijerph16071152

 

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of Tai Chi (TC) on anthropometric parameters and physical fitness among children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities (ID). Methods: Sixty-six Chinese individuals engaged in sport-related extracurricular activities (TC and aerobic exercise (AE)) as exercise interventions or arts/crafts activities as a control condition (CON). The experimental protocol consisted of a baseline assessment, a 12-week intervention period, and a post-intervention assessment. Results: Significant interaction effect was only observed in the performance of a 6-min walk test. After 12 weeks of intervention, the AE group had significant changes in body mass index (p = 0.006, d = 0.11), sit-ups (p = 0.030 and d = 0.57), and 6-min walk test (p = 0.005, d = 0.89). Significant increases in vertical jump (p = 0.048, d = 0.41), lower-limb coordination (p = 0.008, d = 0.53), and upper-limb coordination (p = 0.048, d = 0.36) were observed in the TC group. Furthermore, the TC group demonstrated significantly greater improvements on balance compared to the control group (p = 0.011). Conclusions: TC may improve leg power and coordination of both lower and upper limbs, while AE may be beneficial for body mass index, sit-ups and cardiorespiratory fitness.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6479776/

 

Improve Relaxation and Mood by Walking in a Forest

Improve Relaxation and Mood by Walking in a Forest

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Forest bathing isn’t just hiking, but it also isn’t hard to learn. It won’t necessarily change your life. But it has roots in a real, scientifically observed process, and it’s a great way to learn basic meditation.” – Nick Douglas

 

Modern living is stressful, perhaps, in part because it has divorced us from the natural world that our species was immersed in throughout its evolutionary history. Modern environments may be damaging to our health and well-being simply because the species did not evolve to cope with them. This suggests that returning to nature, at least occasionally, may be beneficial. Indeed, researchers are beginning to study nature walks or what the Japanese call “Forest Bathing” and their effects on our mental and physical health.

 

Mindfulness practices have been found routinely to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. People have long reported that walking in nature elevates their mood. It appears intuitively obvious that if it occurred in a beautiful natural place, it would greatly lift the spirits. But, there is little systematic research regarding these effects. It’s possible that walking in nature might improve relaxation and mood and relieve stress..

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Walking in Bamboo Forest and City Environments on Brainwave Activity in Young Adults.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5896408/ ), Hassan and colleagues recruited college students and randomly assigned them to one of two groups. The first group walked for 15 minutes in a bamboo forest on day one while on the second day walked for 15 minutes in a city. The second group did the same but in reverse order. Participants blood pressure and mood were measured before and after the walks and their brain activity was measured with an Electroencephalogram (EEG) during the walks.

 

They found that walking in both environments reduced blood pressure but blood pressure was significantly lower both before and after the bamboo forest walk. During the bamboo forest but not the city walks, the EEG had significant increases in rhythmic activity in the alpha (8-12 cycles per second) and theta (4-7.5 cycles per second) rhythm bands. These are the same bands that increase during meditation. There was also a significant increase in the beta (13-30 cycles per second) rhythm band which is associated with attention. In addition, after the bamboo forest walk, the students reported feeling more relaxed, comfortable, and natural, and less anxious, than after the city walk.

 

These are interesting results that demonstrate that “Forest Bathing”, walking in a bamboo forest for 15 minutes, produces both a physiological and psychological relaxation and mood improvement. The Electroencephalogram (EEG) results suggest that walking in a forest has similar effects to that of meditation. Indeed, performing walking meditation in nature has been found to significantly improve responses to stress. These results, then, are empirical support for the long-held belief that walking in nature has particularly beneficial effects.

 

So, improve relaxation and mood by walking in a forest.

 

“The idea that spending time in nature is good for our health is not new. Most of human evolutionary history was spent in environments that lack buildings and walls. Our bodies have adapted to living in the natural world. But today most of us spend much of our life indoors, or at least tethered to devices. Perhaps the new forest bathing trend is a recognition that many of us need a little nudge to get back out there.” – Allison Aubrey

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Hassan, A., Tao, J., Li, G., Jiang, M., Aii, L., Zhihui, J., … Qibing, C. (2018). Effects of Walking in Bamboo Forest and City Environments on Brainwave Activity in Young Adults. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2018, 9653857. http://doi.org/10.1155/2018/9653857

 

Abstract

Background. In Japan, “Shinrin-yoku” or forest bathing (spending time in forests) is a major practice used for relaxation. However, its effects on promoting human mental health are still under consideration. The objective of this study was to investigate the physiological and psychological relaxation effects of forest walking on adults. Sixty participants (50% males; 50% females) were trained to walk 15-minute predetermined courses in a bamboo forest and a city area (control). The length of the courses was the same to allow comparison of the effects of both environments. Blood pressure and EEG results were measured to assess the physiological responses and the semantic differential method (SDM) and STAI were used to study the psychological responses. Blood pressure was significantly decreased and variation in brain activity was observed in both environments. The results of the two questionnaires indicated that walking in the bamboo forest improves mood and reduces anxiety. Moreover, the mean meditation and attention scores were significantly increased after walking in a bamboo forest. The results of the physiological and psychological measurements indicate the relaxing effects of walking in a bamboo forest on adults.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5896408/

 

Improve PTSD After Sexual Trauma with Mindfulness Plus Exercise

Improve PTSD After Sexual Trauma with Mindfulness Plus Exercise

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Clinical studies have shown that mindfulness-based treatments can be helpful for people suffering from PTSD. The non-judgmental outlook that mindfulness works to cultivate can help folks accept their thoughts, emotions, and experiences, and reduce the avoidance, intrusive thoughts, and numbness symptoms characteristic of PTSD. Mindfulness practices may decrease survivors’ feelings of guilt, shame, and other negative emotions, and increase their positive feelings toward themselves and others.” – Jezmina Von Thiele

 

Experiencing trauma is quite common. It has been estimated that 60% of men and 50% of women will experience a significant traumatic event during their lifetime. Many, but, only a fraction will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But this still results in a frightening number of people with 7%-8% of the population developing PTSD at some point in their life. PTSD can be produced by interpersonal violence which includes physical or sexual violence. Sexual violence is all too common with 1 out of every 6 women having experienced attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.

 

PTSD involves a number of troubling symptoms including reliving the event with the same fear and horror in nightmares or with a flashback. PTSD sufferers avoid situations that remind them of the event this may include crowds, driving, movies, etc. and may avoid seeking help because it keeps them from having to think or talk about the event. They often experience negative changes in beliefs and feelings including difficulty experiencing positive or loving feelings toward other people, avoiding relationships, memory difficulties, or see the world as dangerous and no one can be trusted. Sufferers may feel hyperarousal, feeling keyed up and jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. They may experience sudden anger or irritability, may have a hard time sleeping or concentrating, may be startled by a loud noise or surprise.

 

Obviously, these are serious and troubling symptoms that need to be addressed. There are a number of therapies that have been developed to treat PTSD. One of which, mindfulness training has been found to be particularly effective. Exercise also appears to be effective in treating the symptoms of PTSD. So, it would seem reasonable to examine the combination of exercise and mindfulness training in treating PTSD.

 

In today’s Research News article “MAP Training My Brain™: Meditation Plus Aerobic Exercise Lessens Trauma of Sexual Violence More Than Either Activity Alone.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5924799/ ), Shors and colleagues recruited adult college women and randomly assigned them to one of four conditions; meditation, aerobic exercise, meditation plus aerobic exercise, or no treatment. Meditation and aerobic exercise sessions lasted 30 minutes each. There were 2 sessions per week for 6 weeks. They were measured before and after training for thoughts and feelings following trauma, self-worth, rumination, and stressful life memories.

 

They found that after the combined meditation plus exercise condition and meditation alone, but not exercise alone or no treatment, there was a significant reduction in thoughts and feelings following trauma. They also found that only after the combined meditation plus exercise condition were there significant reductions in rumination and increases in self-worth. When women who had experience sexual trauma were examined, they found that only after the combined meditation plus exercise condition, were there significant reductions in thoughts and feelings following trauma, and rumination and increases in self-worth.

 

These results suggest that the combination of exercise plus meditation is much more effective in reducing trauma related psychological symptoms than either alone especially in women who had experienced sexual trauma. This suggests that treating both the mind and the body is particularly effective in dealing with the psychological sequela of trauma. It will be interesting in future research to see if this is also true in treating PTSD in men and with physical and combat trauma.

 

So, improve PTSD after sexual trauma with mindfulness plus exercise.

 

“Women who experience sexual violence, and people who experience trauma, tend to ruminate over what happened—asking themselves why it happened or if they could have done something differently. The more you think about it, the more you go over the memories, the more memories you make. MAP Training diminished those thoughts in women who experienced violence.” – Tracey Shors

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are available also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Tracey J. Shors, Han Y. M. Chang, Emma M. Millon. MAP Training My Brain™: Meditation Plus Aerobic Exercise Lessens Trauma of Sexual Violence More Than Either Activity Alone. Front Neurosci. 2018; 12: 211. Published online 2018 Apr 23. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00211

 

Abstract

Sexual violence against women often leads to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental illness characterized by intrusive thoughts and memories about the traumatic event (Shors and Millon, 2016). These mental processes are obviously generated by the brain but often felt in the body. MAP Training My Brain™ is a novel clinical intervention that combines mental training of the brain with physical training of the body (Curlik and Shors, 2013; Shors et al., 2014). Each training session begins with 20-min of sitting meditation, followed by 10-min of slow-walking meditation, and ending with 30-min of aerobic exercise at 60–80% of the maximum heart rate (see maptrainmybrain.com). In previous studies, the combination of mental and physical (MAP) training together significantly reduced symptoms of depression and ruminative thoughts, while reducing anxiety (Shors et al., 20142017; Alderman et al., 2016). We also documented positive changes in brain activity during cognitive control and whole-body oxygen consumption in various populations. In the present pilot study, we asked whether the combination of meditation and aerobic exercise during MAP Training would reduce trauma-related thoughts, ruminations, and memories in women and if so, whether the combination would be more effective than either activity alone. To test this hypothesis, interventions were provided to a group of women (n = 105), many of whom had a history of sexual violence (n = 32). Groups were trained with (1) MAP Training, (2) meditation alone, (3) aerobic exercise alone, or (4) not trained. Individuals in training groups completed two sessions a week for at least 6 weeks. MAP Training My Brain™ significantly reduced post-traumatic cognitions and ruminative thoughts in women with a history of sexual violence, whereas meditation alone, and exercise alone did not. MAP Training significantly enhanced a measure of self-worth, whereas meditation and exercise alone did not. Similar positive effects were observed for all participants, although meditation alone was also effective in reducing trauma-related thoughts. Overall, these data indicate the combination of meditation and exercise is synergistic. As a consequence, MAP Training is preferable and especially so for women who have experienced sexual violence in their past. Simply put, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5924799/