Research Shows How Mindfulness Can Help You Reach Your Exercise And Weight Loss Goals

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When it comes to exercise, many of us are full of good intentions but not much action. I’ve been meaning to go to the gym, we tell our friends, and their heads nod in understanding.

The University of California, Berkeley, has recently published a piece on their Greater Good blog that outlines the importance of mindfulness on your motivation to go out there, exercise and do physical activity to stay fit and healthy.

According to a recent study published in Mindfulness, researchers asked a group of 244 French students about their levels of mindfulness—moment-by-moment, nonjudgmental awareness of thoughts and feelings—in daily life. The researchers also asked why they were motivated to exercise (if at all) and how physically active they were over the past week.

For less mindful participants, the intrinsic motivation to exercise wasn’t at all linked to higher physical activity. Even those who think sweating it out at the gym is fun weren’t exercising more than the rest of the group if they were also low in mindfulness. But as mindfulness increased, that link between motivation and physical activity became stronger and stronger. Mindfulness seemed to be activating participants’ intentions, and helping translate them into action.

So can mindfulness really help you reach your fitness goal and make exercising easier?

Maybe… if you have already achieved a certain level of mindfulness in the first place.

But until we discover a shortcut to achieving a permanent state of mindfulness, my recommendation is to try and balance daily meditation with light physical activity such as walking and running.

For the original article and links to the research and studies, see Berkeley’s blog here.

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Ben Baker is the communication officer and content editor for the team here at Science of Zen. His interest in personal growth topics range from mindfulness, meditation, neuroscience, performance psychology and natural health.