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Study Compares Health Benefits of Yoga and Exercise

by User Not Found | Aug 01, 2011
Yogis reported fewer headaches, less joint pain and stress

DENVER – While numerous studies have shown short-term physical and psychological benefits from yoga, research being presented today at the 58th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine and 2nd World Congress on Exercise is Medicine® looks at how long-time practitioners of yoga compare to habitual exercisers.

A research team led by Brittanie DeChino, a graduate student and instructor at The George Washington University in the School of Public Health and Health Services, surveyed 163 participants recruited from yoga studios and fitness clubs in the Washington, D.C. area.

“We surveyed the participants on psychological well-being, as measured by anxiety, depression, coping, mindfulness, perceived stress and general health symptoms,” said DeChino. “Interestingly, the two groups – yoga practitioners and habitual exercisers – were similar with regard to self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, the yoga practitioners reported lower prevalence of joint pain and headaches than those who engaged in cardiovascular exercise and weight training. They also had higher scores for mindfulness and coping skills, and lower scores for perceived stress, compared with the exercise group.”

The 132 female and 31 male participants were primarily Caucasian (88 percent) and of higher educational attainment, ranging from 18 to 65 years of age. According to DeChino, the enduring and specific benefits of yoga to mindfulness and consequent stress reduction should be emphasized in community-based health promotion strategies.

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The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 45,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only and should not be construed as an official statement of the American College of Sports Medicine. Research highlighted in this news release has been presented at a professional meeting but has not been peer-reviewed.  

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