A Systematic Review of the Effects of Meditative and Mindful Walking on Mental and Cardiovascular Health
Other Subject Area
Also Psychology and Behavior
International Journal of Exercise Science 15(2): 1692-1734, 2022. Meditative and mindful exercise are types of physical exercise during which people pay attention, on purpose, to each new present moment without judging their experience. The goal is to apply an accepting awareness of the environment, bodily sensations, thoughts, and emotions without labeling them (e.g., good or bad). The literature centers on qigong, tai chi, and yoga, which are types of mindful exercise that improve mental and cardiovascular health. It is unclear if meditative and mindful walking also improve these health domains. To the authors’ knowledge, this question has not been addressed by a published systematic review. The purpose of this systematic review without a meta-analysis was to synthesize the literature on meditative and mindful walking to determine their effects on mental and cardiovascular health. The protocol follows the PRISMA guidelines, is registered in PROSPERO (CRD42021241180), and is published elsewhere in a peer-reviewed journal. The systematic review contains 14 studies that had various populations, interventions, and outcomes. In 13 studies, the interventions statistically significantly improved scores on at least one outcome of mental or cardiovascular health (e.g., affect, anxiety, depression, distress, state mindfulness, stress, blood pressure, and six-minute walk distance). The improved outcomes should be interpreted cautiously because their clinical meaningfulness is unclear, and the studies had severe methodological limitations. Determining if meditative and mindful walking meaningfully improve mental and cardiovascular health will require randomized controlled trials that use rigorous designs, transparent protocols, and clinically meaningful outcomes that indicate physical function, mental wellbeing, morbidity, and mortality.
Davis, Dustin W.; Carrier, Bryson; Cruz, Kyle; Barrios, Brenna; Landers, Merrill Russen; and Navalta, James W.
"A Systematic Review of the Effects of Meditative and Mindful Walking on Mental and Cardiovascular Health,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 15
2, Pages 1692 - 1734.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol15/iss2/20