PT 360 - March 2020

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did significantly worse on the tests later in the term. Stress had eroded their cognitive function. The group of students who received mindfulness training, however, became more accurate and focused. Jha’s findings suggest that not only is meditation a way to improve performance, but it is also a way to inoculate yourself against the effects of stressful situations. Dr. Jha continued to study the effects of mindfulness, and in 2019 she published a second study that examined its effects on a different group: soldiers in a special operations unit. This time, Dr. Jha found that not only were soldiers trained in mindfulness better able to discern important information in a chaotic environment, but they also saw gains in their working memory. Thanks in part to Dr. Jha’s research, mindfulness is edging its way into the United States military. Army infantry soldiers in Hawaii began using mindfulness this winter, for example, to improve their shooting skills and reduce the risk of civilian harm. The idea is that by strengthening working memory through mindfulness, soldiers will be less likely to make impulsive decisions. Large organizations have the resources to carefully vet the training and benefits they provide to their employees, and on the topic of mindfulness, Google, Bank of America, and the U.S. military all agree: Mindfulness works. If you’re looking for improved cognition and focus, you need to look no further than your own breath, an instructional app on your smartphone, and one hour of practice a week.

group received mindfulness training and practiced it for a combined one hour a week, over a period of nine weeks. The other group of students received instruction about escaping worries and fake stress relief strategies. Evidence already supports that stressful environments reduce cognitive function and memory, and during the course of the study, all the students experienced an increase in external stressors — midterms and finals. When Jha retested the students at the end of the study, she found that the control group of students, when retested,

W ellness and W hiskers 3 W ays to W ork O ut W ith Y our P et

around the trail, your pet will be begging to go again. And how can you say no to that face? Plus, this idea isn’t just for dogs. You can find leashes and harnesses for cats, lizards, ferrets, and other pets that love to get fresh air.

Creating a healthy lifestyle is often easier with support, but if you’re struggling to find someone to join you on your path to wellness, then look to your furry friends instead. Read on for some ways to get active with

Going for a Swim

your pet, and learn more about their wellness and health at PetMD.com.

If you have a dog that appears to be more fish than canine, swimming might be the workout for you! Swimming is a joint-friendly cardiovascular exercise that works your entire body. If you’re not one for a dip in the pool, then kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding are great for your arms and core. Meanwhile, your pet can enjoy a relaxing ride or an exciting game of fetch. Just be sure to secure your pet with a life jacket before you and your four-legged friend splash away! If you want a good full-body workout while entertaining your pet, then consider including them in traditional exercises. Entertain your pup with a game of fetch and drop down for a burpee every time it runs away. Balance your bird on your shoulder while you squat and lunge. Mentally and physically stimulate your cat by dragging a string around your body during Russian twists. With a little creativity and a few of your pet’s favorite things, both of you can work up a sweat. Keeping It Traditional

Racking Up the Miles

A simple way to get moving with your pet is to go for a walk. If you’re looking for a

bigger challenge, then try running, biking, or hiking with your pet. Anything

beyond a walk may require extra obedience training or equipment — like a specialty tool that prevents your pet from colliding with your bike — but after a few loops

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