Exercise Compared to Mindfulness for Physical and Mental Wellbeing in Medical Students

Author: A Worobetz1, M O'Callaghan1, J Walsh2, M Casey1,3, P Hayes1,3, E G Bengoechea3,4, C Woods3,4, D McGrath1,3, L G Glynn1,3
1 School of Medicine, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.
2 Department of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.
3 HRB Primary Care Clinical Trials Network Ireland.
4 Physical Activity for Health Research Cluster, Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick, Ireland.
Conference/Journal: Ir Med J
Date published: 2022 Mar 16
Other: Volume ID: 115 , Issue ID: 3 , Pages: 560 , Word Count: 207

Aim Physical Activity (PA) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) both have positive effects on medical student well-being. The 'MED-WELL' programme is a curricular intervention that combines PA and education on exercise as medicine. This trial evaluates whether there is a mean difference in outcomes of participants of an exercise intervention, the 'MED-WELL' programme, versus a control group which engages in a MBSR programme. Methods All second-year medical students were voluntarily allocated into the intervention or control group. Data on overall health and well-being, sleep quality, loneliness, current level of PA, and confidence in prescribing exercise as medicine was analysed from both groups at baseline and after eight weeks. Results Within groups the intervention and control groups showed statistically significant improvements in overall well-being (p=0.010, p=0.005 respectively) and in sleep quality (p<0.001, p=0.007 respectively). The intervention group had statistically significant improvements in levels of PA (p=0.003) and confidence in prescribing exercise (p<0.001). However, there were no statistically significant differences in changes in outcome measures between groups. Conclusion This study has shown that participants in an exercise intervention, the 'MED-WELL' programme, had similar improvements in overall wellbeing and sleep quality to those in a control group who participated in a MBSR programme of the same duration.

PMID: 35532732