Self-regulation as a Mediator of Mindfulness and Physical Activity: A Narrative Review


  • Aaron Boyle Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport & Recreation, University of Alberta
  • Amber Mosewich Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport & Recreation, University of Alberta



Mindfulness is gaining increased attention as a means of increasing physical activity (PA) participation. Given that only 15.4% of adult Canadians currently meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines (Colley et al., 2011), it is imperative to find ways to increase PA among adults. One way to do this is to promote self-regulation skills as self-regulation is among the top predictors of PA participation (Teixeira et al., 2015).  The purpose of this narrative review was to further understand the role of self-regulation as a potential mechanism by which mindfulness may be related to PA participation. Initially, 160 papers were identified by title for this review. After reading abstracts, 37 papers were identified as possibly relating to the topic of interest. Following full readings, 26 papers were included in the final review. Likely due to the novelty of this topic, there is limited research on the mechanisms by which mindfulness may be related to physical activity. Review of the literature suggests that self-regulation appears to be a promising mechanism by which mindfulness could improve physical activity participation (Shapiro et al., 2006; Samdal et al., 2017), as self-regulation has been shown to play an important role in behaviour change, however, other alternative mechanisms include improved self-efficacy, as well as improved satisfaction (Neace et al., 2020; Tsafou et al., 2016). The authors conclude that more research on the mechanisms of mindfulness on PA, specifically self-regulation as a mechanism, could foster more knowledgeable intervention practices, and consequently improve mindfulness-based interventions efficacy.






Health Sciences