Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2016 Feb 2;6(2):e726.
doi: 10.1038/tp.2015.225.

MAP Training: Combining Meditation and Aerobic Exercise Reduces Depression and Rumination While Enhancing Synchronized Brain Activity

Affiliations
Free PMC article

MAP Training: Combining Meditation and Aerobic Exercise Reduces Depression and Rumination While Enhancing Synchronized Brain Activity

B L Alderman et al. Transl Psychiatry. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Mental and physical (MAP) training is a novel clinical intervention that combines mental training through meditation and physical training through aerobic exercise. The intervention was translated from neuroscientific studies indicating that MAP training increases neurogenesis in the adult brain. Each session consisted of 30 min of focused-attention (FA) meditation and 30 min of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. Fifty-two participants completed the 8-week intervention, which consisted of two sessions per week. Following the intervention, individuals with major depressive disorder (MDD; n=22) reported significantly less depressive symptoms and ruminative thoughts. Typical healthy individuals (n=30) also reported less depressive symptoms at follow-up. Behavioral and event-related potential indices of cognitive control were collected at baseline and follow-up during a modified flanker task. Following MAP training, N2 and P3 component amplitudes increased relative to baseline, especially among individuals with MDD. These data indicate enhanced neural responses during the detection and resolution of conflicting stimuli. Although previous research has supported the individual beneficial effects of aerobic exercise and meditation for depression, these findings indicate that a combination of the two may be particularly effective in increasing cognitive control processes and decreasing ruminative thought patterns.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
(a) After MAP training, there were significant decreases in the severity of depression (BDI-II) in individuals with MDD and healthy controls. (b) Scores on the ruminative responses scale (RRS) were significantly decreased at post-intervention for both groups. (c) The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) was used to assess physical activity levels in both groups. At post-intervention, both groups reported increases in physical activity, although the increase was only significant for the depressed group. *Indicates a significant difference from pre-to-post intervention. BDI, Beck Depression Inventory; MAP, mental and physical; MDD, major depressive disorder.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Stimulus-locked grand average N2 ERP waveforms (a) and topographic plots (b) averaged across flanker task conditions before and after MAP training. ERPs were averaged across frontocentral midline electrode sites (Fz, FCz and Cz). ERP, event-related potential; MAP, mental and physical.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Stimulus-locked grand average P3 ERP waveforms (a) and topographic plots (b) averaged across flanker task conditions before and after MAP training. ERPs were averaged across centroparietal midline electrode sites (Cz, CPz and Pz). ERP, event-related potential; MAP, mental and physical.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Correlational analysis between pre-to-post intervention change in ruminative thoughts and N2 amplitude. At baseline (a), RRS scores were significantly correlated with N2 amplitude. Following the intervention (b), this relationship was no longer significant. MAP, mental and physical; RRS, ruminative responses scale.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 13 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. Shors TJ. The adult brain makes new neurons and effortful learning keeps them alive. Curr Dir Psychol Sci 2014; 23: 311–318.
    1. Shors TJ, Olson RL, Bates ME, Selby EA, Alderman BL. Mental and physical (MAP) training: a neurogenesis-inspired intervention that combines aerobic exercise and meditation to enhance brain health in humans. Neurobiol Learn Mem 2014; 115: 3–9. - PMC - PubMed
    1. Mirescu C, Gould E. Stress and adult neurogenesis. Hippocampus 2006; 16: 233–238. - PubMed
    1. Warner-Schmidt JL, Duman RS. Hippocampal neurogenesis: opposing effects of stress and antidepressant treatment. Hippocampus 2006; 16: 239–249. - PubMed
    1. Boldrini M, Hen R, Underwood MD, Rosoklija GB, Dwork AJ, Mann JJ et al. Hippocampal angiogenesis and progenitor cell proliferation are increased with antidepressant use in major depression. Biol Psychiatry 2012; 72: 562–571. - PMC - PubMed

Publication types

Feedback