Hibernation and Mindfulness?
Updated: Jul 28
Do you tend to hibernate with the arrival of colder weather and is there anything that can be done about it? I came across a recent article by Gretchen Reynolds in the science section of the New York Times entitled, "Being Still, and Being Active" that addresses this topic.
Data indicates that while dedicated fitness fanatics will continue to remain active during the month of November and beyond, this is a time of year when many people will become significantly more sedentary. Most people will get around 11 minutes less activity per day during the winter than they do during the summer.
That translates to over an hour less of movement per week, which really adds up over the period of cold weather months which can last until April many years. Not only does remaining active help with maintaining healthy body weight, but it also improves mood-which can be an issue for many during the winter.
In a new study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Medicine, research was carried out to see what could be done to encourage people to increase healthful movement during the cold weather months.
One intervention was to have people enroll in a supervised exercise program. However, they also looked into whether mindfulness meditation might also have a positive effect.
These researchers were already looking into whether mindfulness would help people become more resistant to the common cold.
Although meditation is largely a mental exercise it was thought that by altering how people felt about their bodies, a positive impact on activity levels might be seen.
Study participants, who were inactive but otherwise healthy, were divided into three groups: those in a two-month structured exercise regimen, those who took part in a two-month meditation program, and a control group.
During and after the two month training period all participants were asked to wear an activity monitor although they were told the study was looking at their resistance to colds.
As November rolled around and after the two month training periods, those in the exercise and meditation showed a similar and significantly smaller drop off of activity when compared to the control group. It was speculated that both interventions enhanced bodily awareness and that this may account for the positive effect.
In my practice, I frequently encourage my clients to get into the habit of at least getting started when the temptation to procrastinate strikes because if you wait until you feel like moving, chances are you will remain stuck in place. Also, mindfulness meditation is one of several effective stress-relieving interventions I enjoy teaching in my group and private programs as nothing good ever seems to come from being tense.
If you have any questions, please feel free to connect by giving me a call at (732) 714-7040.
Source for this article: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/07/well/move/how-meditation-might-help-your-winter-workouts.html