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J Sports Sci Med. 2012 Jun 1;11(2):322-30. eCollection 2012.

Effects of an 8-month yoga intervention on arterial compliance and muscle strength in premenopausal women.

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Department of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma , Norman, OK, USA.


Previous studies have indicated that Yoga exercise has a positive effect on reducing blood pressure and heart rate. However, no randomized controlled studies to date have investigated its effects on arterial compliance. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of an 8-month Yoga intervention on arterial compliance and muscle strength in normal premenopausal women 35-50 years of age. Thirty-four women were randomly assigned either to a Yoga exercise group (YE, n = 16) or a control group (CON, n = 18). Participants in YE group performed 60 minutes of an Ashtanga Yoga series 2 times/week with one day between sessions for 8 months. Each Yoga session consisted of 15 minutes of warm-up exercises, 35 minutes of Ashtanga Yoga postures and 10 minutes of cool-down with relaxation; and the session intensity was progressively increased during the 8 months. Participants in CON were encouraged to maintain their normal daily lifestyles monitored by the bone-specific physical activity questionnaire at 2 month intervals for 8 months. Arterial compliance (pulse contour analysis) and muscle strength (1 Repetition Maximum) were assessed at baseline and after the intervention. Arterial compliance of the large and small arteries was not affected by the 8 month Yoga training (p > 0.05). Also, there were no significant (p > 0.05) group, time, or group × time interaction effects for cardiovascular variables. YE group significantly (p < 0.01) improved leg press muscle strength compared to CON (11.4% vs. -6.5%). Eight months of Ashtanga Yoga training was beneficial for improving leg press strength, but not arterial compliance in premenopausal women. Key pointsThe 8 month Yoga training did not affect arterial compliance of the large and small arteries.None of the cardiovascular variables were changed by the Yoga intervention.Isotonic muscle strength was not altered by the Yoga intervention, with the exception of leg press.


Ashtanga Yoga; arterial stiffness; blood pressure


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