Exercise and Meditation, Together, Help Beat Depression Rutgers Study Finds

73ad6f6a75b0261e2279_153e0f60122fcbe48481_meditation_high_res_-_credit_Rutgers_Today.jpg
Credits: Rutgers Today
c36c39aca79f73a424e0_aerobic_-_credit_Rutgers_Today.jpg
Aerobic excercise done in conjunction with meditation can help reduce negative thoughts. Credits: Rutgers Today
73ad6f6a75b0261e2279_153e0f60122fcbe48481_meditation_high_res_-_credit_Rutgers_Today.jpg

PISCATAWAY, NJ – Meditation and aerobic exercise done together helps reduce depression, according to a new Rutgers study.

The study, published in Translational Psychiatry this monthfound that the mind and body combination – done twice a week for only two months – reduced the symptoms for a group of students by 40 percent.

“We are excited by the findings because we saw such a meaningful improvement in both clinically depressed and non-depressed students,” says Brandon Alderman, lead author of the research study. “It is the first time that both of these two behavioral therapies have been looked at together for dealing with depression.”

Sign Up for E-News

Alderman, assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Sports Studies, and Tracey Shors, professor in the Department of Psychology and Center for Collaborative Neuroscience, both in the School of Arts and Sciences, discovered that a combination of mental and physical training (MAP) enabled students with major depressive disorder not to let problems or negative thoughts overwhelm them.

“Scientists have known for a while that both of these activities alone can help with depression,” says Shors.

“But this study suggests that when done together, there is a striking improvement in depressive symptoms along with increases in synchronized brain activity.”

The men and women in the Rutgers study who completed the eight-week program – 22 suffering with depression and 30 mentally healthy students  –  reported fewer depressive symptoms and said they did not spend as much time worrying about negative situations taking place in their lives as they did before the study began.

This group also provided MAP training to young mothers who had been homeless but were living at a residential treatment facility when they began the study. The women involved in the research exhibited severe depressive symptoms and elevated anxiety levels at the beginning. But at the end of the eight weeks, they too, reported that their depression and anxiety had eased, they felt more motivated, and they were able to focus more positively on their lives.

Depression – a debilitating disorder that affects nearly one in five Americans sometime in their life – often occurs in adolescence or young adulthood. Until recently, Rutgers scientists say, the most common treatment for depression has been psychotropic medications that influence brain chemicals and regulate emotions and thought patterns along with talk therapy that can work but takes considerable time and commitment on the part of the patient.

Rutgers researchers say those who participated in the study began with 30 minutes of focused attention meditation followed by 30 minutes of aerobic exercise. They were told that if their thoughts drifted to the past or the future they should refocus on their breathing – enabling those with depression to accept moment-to-moment changes in attention.

Shors, who studies the production of new brain cells in the hippocampus – the portion of the brain known to be necessary for some types of new learning – says even though neurogenesis cannot be monitored in humans, scientists have shown in animal models that aerobic exercise increases the number of new neurons and effortful learning keeps a significant number of those cells alive.

The idea for the human intervention came from her laboratory studies, she says, with the main goal of helping individuals acquire new skills so that they can learn to recover from stressful life events.  By learning to focus their attention and exercise, people who are fighting depression can acquire new cognitive skills that can help them process information and reduce the overwhelming recollection of memories from the past, Shors says.

“We know these therapies can be practiced over a lifetime and that they will be effective in improving mental and cognitive health,” says Alderman. “The good news is that this intervention can be practiced by anyone at any time and at no cost.”

 

 

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Piscataway

Dr. Jacqueline Littlejohn - Candidate for Piscataway Town Council

April 13, 2018

Why are you running for election to the Piscataway Township Council?

I am running for election to the Piscataway Township Council because I believe that a vibrant democracy only flourishes when the governed have a voice in their government, be it in the form of compromise, protest, or even becoming viable candidates themselves. I have chosen the latter approach. As a candidate I want to be the ...

The Piscataway Democratic Organization Names its 2018 Ward Slate

The Piscataway Democratic Party is putting forward an incredible slate of ward candidates for the Township Council.  “Frank Uhrin, Jim Bullard, Steven D. Cahn and Michele Lombardi have brought us a 12 percent drop in the tax rate, many new job opportunities for hard working residents, and a rise in property values,” party chair and former mayor, Ted Light said.  ...

Mother of Teen Mom Arrested for Endangerment and Evidence-Tampering

April 19, 2018

HIGHLAND PARK, NJ - The mother of the 14-year-old accused of killing her newborn in Highland Park this week has been charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the second degree and one count of tampering with physical evidence in the fourth degree.  The woman, 35, of Highland Park, was arrested after the death of a newborn baby on April 16, ...

Obituaries

Piscataway – Reinhard Rudolf Kiefer, 85, died Sunday March 11, 2018 at home. Born in ...
Read more
Piscataway, NJ – Manuela Cruz, 94, born July 17, 1923, passed away peacefully on March 8, ...
Read more

Craft Brew Fest Pours Into Westfield April 28; TAPinto Readers Get $20 Off

April 19, 2018

Westfield Hops – A Craft Beer Experience will be taking place on at the Westfield Armory April 28 with one session from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Enter code TAPINTO when you order your tickets and get $20 off! Tickets are available online at  http://www.westfieldhops.com. All tickets include unlimited tastings and a souvenir tasting glass. 

Westfield Hops – A Craft Beer ...

Travis “TJ” Henry Health Fair - Free Family Community Health Event

Free Family Community Health Event Saturday April 21

TJ was a Rutgers University student from central New Jersey who passed away from sudden cardiac death.

The health fair is named in his honor to bring attention to fitness and wellness in our community.

This year the fair will focus on heart and mental health in young adults and families.

Event Activities:

Fun 3k Run/Walk - Time: ...

Rutgers Professor Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

NEW BRUNSWICK - Helen M. Berman, Board of Governors distinguished professor emerita of chemistry and chemical Biology at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Berman is among 213 people elected to the academy this year, including author Ta-Nehisi Coates, actor Tom Hanks, President Barack Obama, Supreme ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, April 20, 4:00 PM

Firefly Farm, Hopewell

Grafting Workshop

Home & Garden

Carousel_image_0fbd1c9290469ba8ed77_euna_shin_-_gofundme_page

Fri, April 20, 6:00 PM

Piscataway High School Football Field, Piscataway

Celebration of Euna

Giving Back

Fri, April 20, 6:30 PM

State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

Wild Kratts

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, April 21, 10:00 AM

Promise Garden, New Brunswick

Earth Day Fest

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, April 21, 11:30 AM

Plainfield YMCA, Plainfield

Plainfield YMCA Healthy Kids Day

Health & Wellness

Job Seekers Flock to Job Fair Hosted by Assemblyman Joe Danielsen

April 19, 2018

SOMERSET, NJ - Hundreds of job seekers came out to meet more than 80 employers for Assemblyman Joe Danielsen's (D-17 Middlesex/Somerset) 4th Annual Job Fair at the Imperia Wednesday afternoon. 

There were two parts to the fair, in the early afternoon hours job seekers had the opportunity to attend workshops geared towards enhancing their job search techniques/interviewing ...

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April 8, 2018

It is clear from headlines that child abuse and neglect is a nationwide tragedy – and the impacts reverberate to us all. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and we would like to take the opportunity to bring awareness to this issue.

Approximately 702,000 incidents of child maltreatment are identified each year – enough to pack 10 football stadiums. In 2016, an estimated 1,750 ...

Cluelessly Clueless

I teenaged my way through high school under the assumption that my parents had no idea what I was doing.  I like to think I was pretty good at withholding information and presenting situations in ways that were other than they really were.

 

Still, sometimes they found things out.  Like the time my friends plopped me on our front door step at one o'clock in the morning ...

Want to avoid gaining weight? Don’t diet!

Researchers aiming to identify lifestyle factors related to weight management followed more than 4,500 young adults (average age 24) for ten years. At the end of the study period, 77% of the men and 72% of the women had gained weight. The lifestyle factors associated with no weight gain among the remaining 23% of the men and 28% of women were regular eating patterns (not skipping meals) and no ...