Mindfulness meditation and physical activity: Evidence from 2012 National Health Interview Survey.

Objective: Physical activity is critical for health, yet only about half of the U.S. adult population meets basic aerobic physical activity recommendations and almost a third are inactive. Mindfulness meditation is gaining attention for its potential to facilitate health-promoting behavior and may address some limitations of existing interventions for physical activity. However, little evidence exists on mindfulness meditation and physical activity. This study assessed whether mindfulness meditation is uniquely associated with physical activity in a nationally representative sample. Method: Cross-sectional data from the adult sample (N = 34,525) of the 2012 National Health Interview Survey were analyzed. Logistic regression models tested whether past-year use of mindfulness meditation was associated with (a) inactivity and (b) meeting aerobic physical activity recommendations, after accounting for sociodemographics, another health-promoting behavior, and 2 other types of meditation. Data were weighted to represent the U.S. civilian, noninstitutionalized adult population. Results: Accounting for covariates, U.S. adults who practiced mindfulness meditation in the past year were less likely to be inactive and more likely to meet physical activity recommendations. Mindfulness meditation showed stronger associations with these indices of physical activity than the 2 other types of meditation. Conclusions: These results suggest that mindfulness meditation specifically, beyond meditation in general, is associated with physical activity in U.S adults. Future research should test whether intervening with mindfulness meditation—either as an adjunctive component or on its own—helps to increase or maintain physical activity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)