Mindfulness versus Physical Exercise: Effects of Two Recovery Strategies on Mental Health, Stress and Immunoglobulin A during Lunch Breaks. A Randomized Controlled Trial.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Apr 20 ;17(8). Epub 2020 Apr 20. PMID: 32326082
This research analyses the effects of mindfulness meditation (MM) and physical exercise (PE), practised as daily recovery activities during lunch breaks, on perceived stress, general mental health, and immunoglobin A (IgA). A three-armed randomized controlled trial with 94 employees was conducted for five weeks including two follow-up sessions after one and six months. Daily practice lasted 30 min maximum. Perceived stress and general mental health questionnaires and saliva samples were used. There were significant differences in time factor comparing pre- and post-test of Perceived Stress Questionnaire (PSQ) both for PE [Mdiff = 0.10, SE = 0.03,= 0.03], and for MM [Mdiff = 0.09, SE = 0.03,= 0.03]. Moreover, there were significant differences of interaction factor when comparing MM vs. PE in total score at pre-post [F = -2.62 (6, 168.84),= 0.02,ω= 0.09], favoring PE with medium and high effect sizes. Regarding General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) variable, practicing MM showed significant effects in time factor compared to pre-Fup2. No significant differences were found for IgA. Thus, practicing both MM and PE as recovery strategies during lunch breaks could reduce perceived stress after five weeks of practice, with better results for PE. Moreover, practicing MM could improve mental health with effects for 6 months.