Running and meditation: magical solution to happiness
A new study has shown that maditating before running may be an incredible treatment for people with depression.
As you may know, depressed people are usually unable to stop dwelling on gloomy thoughts and unhappy memories: this sort of rumination involves two areas of the brain, that are the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus. The first area is involved in the control of attention, while the second one is critical for learning and memory.
People with depression are shown to have a smaller hippocampus. On the contrary, the meditators have been found to have an increased ability to focus and concentrate. Meanwhile, aerobic exercise like running, increases the production of new brain cells in the hippocampus. Moreover, both running and meditating have proven to be beneficial for anxiety, depression and mood disorders in general.
How it works? Well, while the exercise increases the number of new brain cells in the hippocampus, the meditation helps to keep more of these cells alive.
So, for the study, the scientists recruited 52 men and women, 22 of whom were depressed. These volunteers were asked to complete some computerize tests of their ability to focus: they were found not to be able to concentrate normally. Then, the volunteers were taught to meditate for 20 minutes and then do some sport twice a week for 8 weeks. The researchers retested them and they found significant positive changes in both their capacity to focus and their mood.
Let’s do some meditation and physical activity…it can’t hurt anyway!