Objective—To compare the efficacy in runners of two relaxation techniques with regard to exercise reactivity and recovery after exercise.
Methods—Thirty one adult male runners were studied prospectively for six months in three groups practising either meditation (n = 11) or autogenic training (n = 11) or serving as controls (n = 10). Before and after the six months relaxation intervention, indicators of reactivity to exercise and metabolism after exercise (blood lactate concentration, heart rate (HR), and oxygen consumption (VO2)), were tested immediately after and 10 minutes after exercise. Resting HR was also assessed weekly at home during the trial. State anxiety was measured before and after the intervention.
Results—After the relaxation training, blood lactate concentration after exercise was significantly (p<0.01) decreased in the meditation group compared with the control group. No difference was observed in lactate responses between the autogenic training group and the control group. There were no significant differences among the groups with regard to HR, VO2, or levels of anxiety.
Conclusion—Meditation training may reduce the lactate response to a standardised exercise bout.
Key Words: autogenic training; lactate; meditation; recovery; relaxation; psychology