Affective Responses to Acute Bouts of Aerobic Exercise, Mindfulness Meditation, and Combinations of Exercise and Meditation: A Randomized Controlled Intervention

Psychol Rep. 2019 Apr;122(2):465-484. doi: 10.1177/0033294118755099. Epub 2018 Jan 25.


Single bouts of aerobic exercise and meditation have been shown to induce positive affect. In a novel experimental paradigm, we sought to examine the effects of an acute bout of aerobic exercise and meditation, as well as exercise and meditation combined on affect among young adults. Participants ( N = 110, mean age = 21.4 years) were randomly assigned to walk, meditate, walk then meditate, meditate then walk, or to sit (inactive control). All walking and meditation bouts were 10 minutes in duration. Participants' affect was monitored before and after the intervention using the Exercise Induced Feelings Inventory. Significant group × time interaction effects were observed for three Exercise Induced Feelings Inventory subscales, including revitalization ( p < .001), tranquility ( p = .02), and exhaustion ( p = .03); the group × time interaction for Exercise Induced Feelings Inventory positive engagement was nonsignificant ( p = .16). A single bout of brisk walking or meditation, as well as a combination of walking and meditation, may positively influence affect. There is some evidence to suggest that affective benefits may be greater following meditation or a combination of meditation and walking, when compared with walking alone.

Keywords: Affect; combination; exercise psychology; meditation; physical activity; walking.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation / psychology*
  • Mindfulness*
  • Walking / psychology*
  • Young Adult