The Science of Mindfulness

Aerobic exercise increases mindfulness

So by this point you probably know that mindfulness is good for you. It reduces depression and anxiety, prevents diseases, helps you do better at work or school, and so the list goes on. But how do we actually become more mindful? Do we have to sit down and meditate every day or are there other strategies? Some researchers in Germany investigated this question. Specifically, they looked to see if regular aerobic exercise could do the trick.

Participants were randomly split into three groups: an aerobic exercise group, a relaxation training group, and a waitlist control group (i.e. received no intervention, but were offered one of the interventions after the experiment ended). All participants’ level of mindfulness was measured before and after the 12-week long intervention. Findings showed that indeed, regular aerobic exercise was correlated with an increase in dispositional mindfulness. This was especially powerful for those participants who were most inactive before the experiment.

The researchers also measured changes in mental and physical wellbeing. They found that increases in mindfulness were associated with increases in mental wellbeing, however, were not correlated with changes in physical wellbeing. So even if that new exercise regimen isn’t really helping you keep off those pounds, it may still be working out your mind. So stick with it!


Keryn Breiterman-Loader
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