Here we conducted a side-to-side comparison of mindfulness meditation vs. mindfulness-based walking on psychological functioning. Participants (23 young adults; Mage = 21 yrs) completed three laboratory visits (1-week apart). Session 1 included a familiarization trial. Session two and three (counterbalanced) included either a 10-minute guided mindfulness session or a 10-minute mindfulness-based treadmill walk (employing mindfulness meditation techniques while walking). Psychological outcomes, assessed before and after each visit, included various cognitive (e.g., executive function), affect (e.g., perceived valence, distinct emotions, arousal), and psychological (e.g., anxiety, 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 in improving various cognitive, affect and psychological parameters. Such findings demonstrate the health-enhancing effects of these brief interventions and provides individuals and health professionals with various options (based on preference) to choose from to help improve psychological well-being.
Key words: exercise; health; mental health; physical activity; yoga