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Research published in Translational Psychiatry has shown that combining meditation with aerobic exercise can reduce depression by up to 40 percent.
The specific finding of the study was that employing both aerobic exercise and meditation twice weekly over the course of two months, can bring down one’s depression by 40 percent.
The efficacy seems to be in the act of attacking the problem from two sides—both mind and body. Even better, the effects do not apply just to the clinically depressed.
Positive changes were also observed in the study subjects who were not depressed. The study is a first because it combines these two free behavioral therapies to see the possible effects.
The study took place over the course of eight weeks. It used 55 individuals: 30 of these people did not suffer from depression or other mental illnesses while the remaining study subjects were currently suffering from a serious episode of depression.
The participants were taught how to focus their attention for half an hour and then to do aerobic exercises for another half hour. At the end of two months, every group claimed that they had fewer symptoms that they would describe as depressive.
The participants said they were also less likely to have their mind start wandering towards possible negative situations or actual negative situations in their lives. The professors who have studied this research acknowledge that science has known that both meditation and aerobic exercise will reduce the effects of depression, but they were surprised by the rate of reduction that the two can provide when used in combination.