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The Effects of Breath Meditation on RunnersScience project video

Abstract

"Hitting the wall," is a common phenomena experienced by runners, and it is characterized by physical or mental fatigue. Experienced runners learn not to give in to these sensations, instead they continue to push themselves and "run" through it. In this science fair project, you will determine what effects breathing meditation has on "hitting the wall."

Objective

Evaluate the effects of breathing meditation on runners.

Scientific Terms

Hitting the wall, Running, Meditation, Mind

Background

Hitting the wall

The human body uses glycogen as fuel, but fat can be burned to supplement our energy needs. The challenge runners have is that oxygen is required for energy conversion, and oxygen is reduced when running at higher speeds. With consistent practice, the body adapts and starts to burn glycogen and fat more efficiently, and hitting the wall becomes less frequent. However, there is another cause for hitting the wall, and that is adrenalin. When runners are excited, and adrenalin is released in the body, the runner is letting their emotional state determine their pace. If this pace is more rapid than the runner's usual pace, the runner becomes vulnerable to hitting the wall. The question is whether mediation make a difference for a runner? Mediation is known to be able to keep our emotions at an even keel, freeing the mind from distracting thoughts, and has proven affects on physiology.

Meditation

Meditation is a spiritual practice that has been practiced by all societies and religions throughout history. The purpose of meditation is to quiet the mind from distracting thought while enhancing its ability to focus. Breathing meditation is a simple form of meditation that involves focusing your attention on the sensations of your breath as you inhale and exhale\. It is natural for the mind to wander but by returning your attention back to the breath, the practitioner can develop a disciplined mind. Modern research has demonstrated the beneficial effects of meditation on both the mind and the body. Reduced stress, blood pressure, and improved concentration are but a few. In order for you to practice breathing meditation, you need to:

  1. Find a comfortable place to sit; it may be a chair or a cushion.
  2. If you are sitting in a chair, have your feet planted flat to the ground.
  3. Sit up as straight as you can while allowing yourself to be comfortable and your body relaxed.
  4. You can close your eyes or leave them open; however, it is helpful to close your eyes when you first start practicing as you will reduce distracting stimuli.
  5. Breathe naturally, allowing your awareness to follow the breath as it enters your body during inhalation and exists as you exhale.
  6. Allow yourself to feel the sensation of air as it travels through the nasal cavity. Be aware of the sensations of your abdomen rising and falling.
  7. You will most likely experience your mind wandering. Whenever you catch your mind wandering, gently return your attention back to your breathing.
  8. Do not judge anything that you experience. By repeatedly returning your mind back to your breath, your mind will eventually quiet down.
  9. Practice breathing meditation every opportunity you have.
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    Complexity level:
    8
    Project cost ($):
    Time required:
    Additional time is needed to recruit participants and practice breath meditation.
    Material availability:
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