Mindfulness-based walking vs. seated meditation on anxiety, affect, fatigue, and cognition
Meghan K. Edwards, Breanna Wade, Emily Frith, Paul D. Loprinzi
We conducted a side-to-side comparison of mindfulness meditation versus mindfulness-based walking on psychological functioning. Participants (23 young adults; Mage = 21 years) completed three laboratory visits (1-week apart). Session 1 included a familiarization trial. Sessions 2 and 3 (counterbalanced) included either a 10-minute guided mindfulness session or a 10-minute mindfulness-based treadmill walk (employing mindfulness meditation techniques while walking). The psychological outcomes, assessed before and after each visit, included various cognitive (e.g., executive function), affect (e.g., perceived valence, distinct emotions, and arousal), and psychological (e.g., anxiety and fatigue) outcomes. Mindfulness meditation was effective in enhancing cognition (p = 0.005); improving affective valence (p = 0.01); reducing arousal (p = 0.001); and decreasing sadness (p = 0.04), anxiety (p = 0.001), and tension (p = 0.01). Similarly, mindfulness-based walking was effective in enhancing cognition (p = 0.05); improving affective valence (p = 0.001) and excitement (p = 0.03); reducing sadness (p = 0.04); and decreasing anxiety (p = 0.001), tension (p = 0.006), and fatigue (p = 0.04). However, one intervention was not superior than the other. Both mindfulness meditation and mindfulness- based walking had similar effects on improving various cognitive, affect, and psychological parameters. Such findings demonstrate the health-enhancing effects of these brief interventions and provide individuals and health professionals with various options (based on preference) to choose from to facilitate improved psychological well-being.