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1.  Protocol for a randomized controlled study of Iyengar yoga for youth with irritable bowel syndrome 
Trials  2011;12:15.
Irritable bowel syndrome affects as many as 14% of high school-aged students. Symptoms include discomfort in the abdomen, along with diarrhea and/or constipation and other gastroenterological symptoms that can significantly impact quality of life and daily functioning. Emotional stress appears to exacerbate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms suggesting that mind-body interventions reducing arousal may prove beneficial. For many sufferers, symptoms can be traced to childhood and adolescence, making the early manifestation of irritable bowel syndrome important to understand. The current study will focus on young people aged 14-26 years with irritable bowel syndrome. The study will test the potential benefits of Iyengar yoga on clinical symptoms, psychospiritual functioning and visceral sensitivity. Yoga is thought to bring physical, psychological and spiritual benefits to practitioners and has been associated with reduced stress and pain. Through its focus on restoration and use of props, Iyengar yoga is especially designed to decrease arousal and promote psychospiritual resources in physically compromised individuals. An extensive and standardized teacher-training program support Iyengar yoga's reliability and safety. It is hypothesized that yoga will be feasible with less than 20% attrition; and the yoga group will demonstrate significantly improved outcomes compared to controls, with physiological and psychospiritual mechanisms contributing to improvements.
Sixty irritable bowel syndrome patients aged 14-26 will be randomly assigned to a standardized 6-week twice weekly Iyengar yoga group-based program or a wait-list usual care control group. The groups will be compared on the primary clinical outcomes of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, quality of life and global improvement at post-treatment and 2-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes will include visceral pain sensitivity assessed with a standardized laboratory task (water load task), functional disability and psychospiritual variables including catastrophizing, self-efficacy, mood, acceptance and mindfulness. Mechanisms of action involved in the proposed beneficial effects of yoga upon clinical outcomes will be explored, and include the mediating effects of visceral sensitivity, increased psychospiritual resources, regulated autonomic nervous system responses and regulated hormonal stress response assessed via salivary cortisol.
Trial registration NCT01107977.
PMCID: PMC3033835  PMID: 21244698
2.  Impact of Iyengar yoga on quality of life in young women with rheumatoid arthritis 
The Clinical journal of pain  2013;29(11):988-997.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, disabling disease that can greatly compromise health related quality of life (HRQOL). The aim of this study was to assess the impact of a 6-week twice/week Iyengar yoga (IY) program on HRQOL of young adults with RA compared to a usual-care waitlist control group.
The program was designed to improve the primary outcome of HRQOL including pain, as well as disability and psychological functioning in patients. Assessments were collected pre, post, and at 2-months following treatment. Weekly ratings of anxiety, depression, pain and sleep were also recorded. A total of 26 participants completed the intervention (yoga = 11; usual care waitlist = 15). All participants were female (mean age =28 years).
Overall attrition was low at 15%. On average, women in the yoga group attended 96% of the yoga classes. No adverse events were reported. Relative to the usual-care waitlist, women assigned to the yoga program showed significantly greater improvement on standardized measures of HRQOL, pain disability, general health, mood, fatigue, acceptance of chronic pain and self-efficacy regarding pain at post treatment. Almost half of the yoga group reported clinically meaningful symptom improvement. Analysis of the uncontrolled effects and maintenance of treatment effects showed improvements in HRQOL general health, pain disability and weekly ratings of pain, anxiety and depression that maintained at follow-up.
The findings suggest a brief IY intervention is a feasible and safe adjunctive treatment for young people with RA, leading to health related quality of life (HRQOL), pain disability, fatigue, and mood benefits. Moreover, improvements in quality of life, pain disability and mood persisted at the 2-month follow-up.
PMCID: PMC3644391  PMID: 23370082
Yoga; arthritis; young adults
3.  “More than I Expected”: Perceived Benefits of Yoga Practice among Older Adults at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease 
This study was conducted with participants from trials examining the effects of an Iyengar yoga program on cardiovascular disease risk. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the perceived benefits of yoga in a population of older, predominantly overweight adults participating in a gentle 8-week yoga program.
This study used a constructivist-interpretive approach to naturalistic inquiry.
A total of 42 participants completed the intervention and met the inclusion criteria for the current qualitative study.
The 8-week Iyengar yoga program included two 90-minute yoga classes and five 30-minute home sessions per week. Participants completed weekly logs and an exit questionnaire at the end of the study.
Main Outcome Measures
Qualitative data from weekly logs and exit questionnaires were compiled and conventional content analysis performed with the use of ATLAS.ti to facilitate the process.
Four broad themes emerged from content analysis: Practicing yoga improved overall physical function and capacity (for 83% of participants); practicing yoga reduced stress/anxiety and enhanced calmness (83% of participants); practicing yoga enriched the quality of sleep (21% of participants); and practicing yoga supported efforts toward dietary improvements (14% of participants).
These results suggest that yoga may have ancillary benefits in terms of improved physical function, enhanced mental/emotional state, enriched sleep quality, and improved lifestyle choices, and may be useful as a health promotion strategy in the prevention and management of chronic disease.
PMCID: PMC3564012  PMID: 23374201
4.  Appropriateness and acceptability of a Tele-Yoga intervention for people with heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: qualitative findings from a controlled pilot study 
Heart failure (HF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are highly prevalent and associated with a large symptom burden, that is compounded in a dual HF-COPD diagnosis. Yoga has potential benefit for symptom relief; however functional impairment hinders access to usual yoga classes. We developed a Tele-Yoga intervention and evaluated it in a controlled pilot trial. This paper reports on the appropriateness and acceptability of the intervention and the evaluation design.
A controlled, non-randomised trial was conducted of an 8-week Tele-Yoga intervention versus an educational control (information leaflets mailed to participants with one phone call a week). Biweekly one-hour Tele-Yoga classes were implemented via multipoint videoconferencing that connected participants to live classes via an Internet connection to their televisions. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with participants post study exit to explore reasons for and experiences of participating, including views of study outcome measures and physiological tests. Transcribed interviews were analysed using thematic content analysis.
Fifteen people participated in the pilot study (7 in the intervention group, 8 in the control). Of these, 12 participants were interviewed, 6 in each group, mean age 71.2 years (SD 10.09); 3 were male. Themes are reported in the following categories: acceptability and appropriateness of the intervention, potential active ingredients of the intervention, acceptability and appropriateness of the control, participation in the research, and acceptability of the testing procedures. The intervention was acceptable and appropriate: the intervention group reported enjoying yoga and valuing the home-based aspect and participants described a high symptom burden and social isolation. However, technological problems resulted in poor video-streaming quality for some participants. Potential active ingredients included physical postures, breathing exercises and guidance in relaxation and meditation. The educational control intervention was acceptable and appropriate, with participants reporting little effect on their well-being and no impact on mechanisms hypothesised to explain yoga’s effectiveness. The questionnaires and home physiological testing were acceptable to participants.
Tele-Yoga is an acceptable and appropriate intervention in people with HF and COPD and further research is warranted to refine the technology used in its delivery. Findings provide guidance for researchers working in tele-interventions, yoga, and similar populations.
Trial registration Identifier: NCT02078739 (4 March 2014).
PMCID: PMC4324792
Yoga; Tele-medicine; Meditation; Relaxation; Heart failure; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Dyspnoea; Complex intervention; Qualitative; Medical Research Council framework
5.  Reducing the Symptomatology of Panic Disorder: The Effects of a Yoga Program Alone and in Combination with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy 
Introduction: Yoga is a holistic system of different mind–body practices that can be used to improve mental and physical health. It has been shown to reduce perceived stress and anxiety as well as improve mood and quality of life. Research documenting the therapeutic benefits of yoga has grown progressively for the past decades and now includes controlled trials on a variety of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and panic disorder.
Objectives: The primary goal of this study was to investigate the effects of yoga in patients suffering from panic disorder. We aimed at observing the efficacy of yoga techniques on reducing the symptomatology of panic disorder (anxiety and agoraphobia), compared to a combined intervention of yoga and psychotherapy.
Method: Twenty subjects previously diagnosed with panic disorder were selected. Subjects were randomly assigned to both experimental groups: Group 1 (G1-Yoga: 10 subjects) attended yoga classes and Group 2 (G2-CBT + Yoga: 10 subjects) participated in a combined intervention of yoga practice followed by a cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) session. Both interventions occurred weekly for 100 min and lasted 2 months. Subjects were evaluated two times during the study: pre-test and post-test. Psychometric tools included the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A), The Panic Beliefs Inventory (PBI), and Body Sensations Questionnaire (BSQ).
Results: Statistical analysis showed significant reductions in anxiety levels associated with panic disorder (G1: BAI – p = 0.035, HAM-A – p = 0.000; G2: BAI – p = 0.002, HAM-A – p = 0.000), panic-related beliefs (G1: PBI – p = 0.000; G2: PBI – p = 0.000) and panic-related body sensations (G1: BSQ – p = 0.000; G2: BSQ – p = 0.000) both in G1 and G2. However, the combination of yoga and CBT (G2) showed even further reductions in all observed parameters (mean values).
Conclusion: This study observed significant improvement in panic symptomatology following both the practice of yoga and the combination of yoga and psychotherapy. While contemplative techniques such as yoga promote a general change in dealing with private events, CBT teaches how to modify irrational beliefs and specific cognitive distortions. The results observed in G2 might indicate that the techniques complemented each other, increasing the intervention efficacy. These findings are in agreement with many investigations found in the literature which observed improvements in different mental health parameters after the practice of contemplative techniques alone or combined to psychotherapy. Future research joining psychological and physiological variables could help better elucidate the mechanisms through which mind-body practices work to improve mental health.
PMCID: PMC4259001  PMID: 25538634
anxiety; cognitive-behavioral therapy; contemplative practice; panic disorder; yoga
6.  Impact and Outcomes of an Iyengar Yoga Program in a Cancer Centre 
Current Oncology  2008;15(Suppl 2):s109.es72-s109.es78.
Individuals have increasingly sought complementary therapies to enhance health and well-being during cancer, although little evidence of their effect is available.
We investigated how an Iyengar yoga program affects the self-identified worst symptom in a group of participants. whether quality of life, spiritual well-being, and mood disturbance change over the Iyengar yoga program and at 6 weeks after the program. how, from a participant’s perspective, the Iyengar yoga program complements conventional cancer treatment.
Patients and Methods
This pre–post instrumental collective case study used a mixed methods design and was conducted at a private Iyengar yoga studio. The sample consisted of 24 volunteers (23 women, 1 man; 88% Caucasian; mean age: 49 years) who were currently on treatment or who had been treated for cancer within the previous 6 months, and who participated in ten 90-minute weekly Iyengar yoga classes.
The main outcome measures were most-bothersome symptom (Measure Your Medical Outcome Profile 2 instrument), quality of life and spiritual well-being (Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy–General subscale and Spiritual subscale), and mood disturbance (Profile of Mood States–Short Form). Participant perspectives were obtained in qualitative interviews.
Statistically significant improvements were reported in most-bothersome symptom (t(23) = 5.242; p < 0.001), quality of life (F(2,46) = 14.5; p < 0.001), spiritual well-being (F(2,46) = 14.4; p < 0.001), and mood disturbance (F(2,46) = 10.8; p < 0.001) during the program. At follow-up, quality of life (t(21) = −3.7; p = 0.001) and mood disturbance (t(21) = 2.4; p = 0.025) significantly improved over time. Categorical aggregation of the interview data showed that participants felt the program provided them with various benefits not included on the outcomes questionnaires.
Over the course of the Iyengar Yoga for Cancer program, participants reported an improvement in overall well-being. The program was also found to present participants with a holistic approach to care and to provide tools to effectively manage the demands of living with cancer and its treatment.
PMCID: PMC2528557  PMID: 18769575
Iyengar yoga; cancer; complementary and alternative medicine; integrative oncology; mixed methodology
7.  A randomized controlled trial examining Iyengar yoga for young adults with rheumatoid arthritis: a study protocol 
Trials  2011;12:19.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, disabling disease that can compromise mobility, daily functioning, and health-related quality of life, especially in older adolescents and young adults. In this project, we will compare a standardized Iyengar yoga program for young people with rheumatoid arthritis to a standard care wait-list control condition.
Seventy rheumatoid arthritis patients aged 16-35 years will be randomized into either the 6-week Iyengar yoga program (12 - 1.5 hour sessions twice weekly) or the 6-week wait-list control condition. A 20% attrition rate is anticipated. The wait-list group will receive the yoga program following completion of the first arm of the study. We will collect data quantitatively, using questionnaires and markers of disease activity, and qualitatively using semi-structured interviews. Assessments include standardized measures of general and arthritis-specific function, pain, mood, and health-related quality of life, as well as qualitative interviews, blood pressure/resting heart rate measurements, a medical exam and the assessment of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Data will be collected three times: before treatment, post-treatment, and two months following the treatment.
Results from this study will provide critical data on non-pharmacologic methods for enhancing function in rheumatoid arthritis patients. In particular, results will shed light on the feasibility and potential efficacy of a novel intervention for rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, paving the way for a larger clinical trial.
Trial Registration NCT01096823
PMCID: PMC3033352  PMID: 21255431
8.  A pilot study of yoga as self-care for arthritis in minority communities 
While arthritis is the most common cause of disability, non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics experience worse arthritis impact despite having the same or lower prevalence of arthritis compared to non-Hispanic whites. People with arthritis who exercise regularly have less pain, more energy, and improved sleep, yet arthritis is one of the most common reasons for limiting physical activity. Mind-body interventions, such as yoga, that teach stress management along with physical activity may be well suited for investigation in both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Yoga users are predominantly white, female, and college educated. There are few studies that examine yoga in minority populations; none address arthritis. This paper presents a study protocol examining the feasibility and acceptability of providing yoga to an urban, minority population with arthritis.
In this ongoing pilot study, a convenience sample of 20 minority adults diagnosed with either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis undergo an 8-week program of yoga classes. It is believed that by attending yoga classes designed for patients with arthritis, with racially concordant instructors; acceptability of yoga as an adjunct to standard arthritis treatment and self-care will be enhanced. Self-care is defined as adopting behaviors that improve physical and mental well-being. This concept is quantified through collecting patient-reported outcome measures related to spiritual growth, health responsibility, interpersonal relations, and stress management. Additional measures collected during this study include: physical function, anxiety/depression, fatigue, sleep disturbance, social roles, and pain; as well as baseline demographic and clinical data. Field notes, quantitative and qualitative data regarding feasibility and acceptability are also collected. Acceptability is determined by response/retention rates, positive qualitative data, and continuing yoga practice after three months.
There are a number of challenges in recruiting and retaining participants from a community clinic serving minority populations. Adopting behaviors that improve well-being and quality of life include those that integrate mental health (mind) and physical health (body). Few studies have examined offering integrative modalities to this population. This pilot was undertaken to quantify measures of feasibility and acceptability that will be useful when evaluating future plans for expanding the study of yoga in urban, minority populations with arthritis.
Trial registration NCT01617421
PMCID: PMC3637098  PMID: 23548052
Yoga; Complementary and alternative medicine; Minority; Osteoarthritis; Rheumatoid arthritis; Self-efficacy
9.  Community based yoga classes for type 2 diabetes: an exploratory randomised controlled trial 
Yoga is a popular therapy for diabetes but its efficacy is contested. The aim of this study was to explore the feasibility of researching community based yoga classes in Type 2 diabetes with a view to informing the design of a definitive, multi-centre trial
The study design was an exploratory randomised controlled trial with in-depth process evaluation. The setting was two multi-ethnic boroughs in London, UK; one with average and one with low mean socio-economic deprivation score. Classes were held at a sports centre or GP surgery. Participants were 59 people with Type 2 diabetes not taking insulin, recruited from general practice lists or opportunistically by general practice staff. The intervention group were offered 12 weeks of a twice-weekly 90-minute yoga class; the control group was a waiting list for the yoga classes. Both groups received advice and leaflets on healthy lifestyle and were encouraged to exercise.
Primary outcome measure was HbA1c. Secondary outcome measures included attendance, weight, waist circumference, lipid levels, blood pressure, UKPDS cardiovascular risk score, diabetes-related quality of life (ADDQoL), and self-efficacy. Process measures were attendance at yoga sessions, self-reported frequency of practice between taught sessions, and qualitative data (interviews with patients and therapists, ethnographic observation of the yoga classes, and analysis of documents including minutes of meetings, correspondence, and exercise plans).
Despite broad inclusion criteria, around two-thirds of the patients on GP diabetic registers proved ineligible, and 90% of the remainder declined to participate. Mean age of participants was 60 +/- 10 years. Attendance at yoga classes was around 50%. Nobody did the exercises regularly at home. Yoga teachers felt that most participants were unsuitable for 'standard' yoga exercises because of limited flexibility, lack of basic fitness, co-morbidity, and lack of confidence. There was a small fall in HbA1c in the yoga group which was not statistically significant and which was not sustained six months later, and no significant change in other outcome measures.
The benefits of yoga in type 2 diabetes suggested in some previous studies were not confirmed. Possible explanations (apart from lack of efficacy) include recruitment challenges; practical and motivational barriers to class attendance; physical and motivational barriers to engaging in the exercises; inadequate intensity and/or duration of yoga intervention; and insufficient personalisation of exercises to individual needs. All these factors should be considered when designing future trials.
Trial registration
National Research Register (1410) and Current Controlled Trials (ISRCTN63637211).
PMCID: PMC2652459  PMID: 19228402
10.  Comparison of yoga versus stretching for chronic low back pain: protocol for the Yoga Exercise Self-care (YES) trial 
Trials  2010;11:36.
Back pain, one of the most prevalent conditions afflicting American adults, is the leading reason for using complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies. Yoga is an increasingly popular "mind-body" CAM therapy often used for relieving back pain and several small studies have found yoga effective for this condition. This study will assess whether yoga is effective for treating chronic low back pain compared with self care and exercise and will explore the mechanisms responsible for any observed benefits.
A total of 210 participants with low back pain lasting at least 3 months will be recruited from primary care clinics of a large healthcare system based in Seattle. They will be randomized in a 2:2:1 ratio to receive 12 weekly yoga classes, 12 weekly conventional therapeutic exercise classes of comparable physical exertion, or a self-care book. Interviewers masked to participants' treatment group will assess outcomes at baseline and 6, 12 and 26 weeks after randomization. Primary outcomes will be back-related dysfunction and symptom bothersomeness. In addition, data will be collected on physical measurements (e.g., flexion) at baseline and 12 weeks and saliva samples will be obtained at baseline, 6 and 12 weeks. Information will be collected on specific physical, psychological, and physiological factors to allow exploration of possible mechanisms of action through which yoga could relieve back pain and dysfunction. The effectiveness of yoga will be assessed using analysis of covariance (using general estimating equations - GEE) within an intention-to-treat context. If yoga is found effective, further analyses will explore whether yoga's benefits are attributable to physical, psychological and/or physiological factors.
This study will provide the clearest evidence to date about the value of yoga as a therapeutic option for treating chronic back pain, and if the results are positive, will help focus future, more in-depth, research on the most promising potential mechanisms of action identified by this study.
Trial registration
This trial is registered in, with the ID number of NCT00447668.
PMCID: PMC2864260  PMID: 20356395
11.  Changes in pain intensity and health related quality of life with Iyengar yoga in nonspecific chronic low back pain: A randomized controlled study 
International Journal of Yoga  2014;7(1):48-53.
Nonspecific chronic low back (nCLBP) pain is prevalent among adult population and often leads to functional limitations, psychological symptoms, lower quality of life (QOL), and higher healthcare costs. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of Iyengar yoga therapy on pain intensity and health related quality of life (HRQOL) with nCLBP.
Aim of the Study:
To compare the effect of Iyengar yoga therapy and conventional exercise therapy on pain intensity and HRQOL in nonspecific chronic low back pain.
Materials and Methods:
Experimental study with random sampling technique.
Sixty subjects who fulfilled the selection criteria were randomly assigned to Iyengar yoga (yoga group, n = 30) and control group (exercise group, n = 30). Participants completed low back pain evaluation form and HRQOL-4 questionnaire before their intervention and again 4 weeks and 6 month later. Yoga group underwent 29 yogic postures training and exercise group had undergone general exercise program for 4 weeks.
Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to analyze group differences over time, while controlling for baseline differences.
Patients in both groups experienced significant reduction in pain and improvement in HRQOL. In visual analogue scale (VAS) yoga group showed reduction of 72.81% (P = 0.001) as compared to exercise group 42.50% (P = 0.001). In HRQOL, yoga group showed reduction of 86.99% (P = 0.001) as compared to exercise group 67.66% (P = 0.001).
These results suggest that Iyengar yoga provides better improvement in pain reduction and improvement in HRQOL in nonspecific chronic back pain than general exercise.
PMCID: PMC4097916  PMID: 25035607
Health related quality of life; Iyengar yoga; nonspecific chronic low back pain; visual analog scale
12.  Yoga for persistent fatigue in breast cancer survivors: A randomized controlled trial 
Cancer  2011;118(15):3766-3775.
Cancer-related fatigue afflicts up to one-third of breast cancer survivors, yet there are no empirically-validated treatments for this symptom.
We performed a two-group RCT to determine the feasibility and efficacy of an Iyengar yoga intervention for breast cancer survivors with persistent post-treatment fatigue. Participants were breast cancer patients who had completed cancer treatments (other than endocrine therapy) at least 6 months prior to enrollment, reported significant cancer-related fatigue, and had no other medical conditions that would account for fatigue symptoms or interfere with yoga practice. Block randomization was used to assign participants to a 12-week Iyengar-based yoga intervention or to 12 weeks of health education (control). The primary outcome was change in fatigue measured at baseline, immediately post-treatment, and 3 months after treatment completion. Additional outcomes included changes in vigor, depressive symptoms, sleep, perceived stress, and physical performance. Intent to treat analyses were conducted with all randomized participants using linear mixed models.
Thirty-one women were randomly assigned to yoga (n = 16) or health education (n = 15). Fatigue severity declined significantly from baseline to post-treatment and over a 3 month follow-up in the yoga group relative to controls (P = .032). In addition, the yoga group showed significant increases in vigor relative to controls (P = .011). Both groups showed positive changes in depressive symptoms and perceived stress (P < .05). No significant changes in sleep or physical performance were observed.
A targeted yoga intervention led to significant improvements in fatigue and vigor among breast cancer survivors with persistent fatigue symptoms.
PMCID: PMC3601551  PMID: 22180393
13.  Complementary health approach to quality of life in menopausal women: a community-based interventional study 
Menopause is the stage when the menstrual period permanently stops, and is a part of every woman’s life. It usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 60 years, and is associated with hormonal, physical, and psychological changes. Estrogen and progesterone levels play the biggest part in menopause. In this stage, the ovaries make less estrogen and progesterone. When the body produces less of these hormones, the parts of the body that depend on estrogen to keep them healthy will react and this often causes discomfort for women. This study tested the impact of a complementary health approach to quality of life in menopausal women.
A community-based interventional study was conducted in selected areas in Kattankulathur Block, Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu, India. A simple random sampling technique was used to select menopausal women for the study. Of 260 menopausal women identified, 130 were allocated to a study group and 130 to a control group. The study group underwent yoga training for 1.5 hours per day on 5 consecutive days. After the 5-day intensive yoga training program, the menopausal women practiced yoga daily at home for 35–40 minutes a day. Along with daily yoga practice, they underwent group yoga practice for 2 days a week under the supervision of one of the investigators until 18 weeks. The yoga training program consisted of Yogasanas, Pranayama (breathing exercises), and meditation. The standardized World Health Organization QoL BREF scale was used to assess the women’s quality of life. We distributed an instruction manual on steps of selected yoga practice for the women’s self-reference at home after the 5 days of continuous yoga practice. A yoga practice diary was used to confirm regular performance of yoga. The women in the control group did not participate in the yoga program; however, on completion of the study, these women received intensive yoga training for 5 days.
There was an extremely high statistically significant difference (P=0.001) between the study group and the control group with regard to the physical, psychological, social, and environmental domains of quality of life after 6, 12, and 18 weeks of yoga therapy. The mean gain score was high in all the domains of quality of life in the study group at weeks 6, 12, and 18. The overall mean gain score in the study group was 31.58 versus 1.61 in the control group. The overall mean gain score difference was 29.97 in all domains of quality of life between the study group and the control group. In the study group, the physical, psychological, social, and environmental domains of quality of life were greatly improved by practicing yoga for 18 weeks. No adverse events were reported by the women after yoga practice.
Quality of life in menopausal women was greatly improved after 18 weeks of yoga practice. Women who regularly practice yoga find that they are able to enjoy menopause and experience the freedom, liberation, and energy that it brings. We conclude that yoga is an effective complementary health approach for improving quality of life in menopausal women.
Video abstract
PMCID: PMC4232038  PMID: 25422589
complementary health approach; yoga; quality of life; menopause
14.  The influence of a yoga exercise program for young adults with intellectual disabilities 
International Journal of Yoga  2012;5(2):151-156.
Individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) have an increased risk of obesity and are significantly less likely to engage in physical activity compared to their nondisabled peers. A growing body of research supports the physical and mental health benefits of yoga. While the benefits of yoga have been studied across a host of populations with varying ages and physical disabilities, no studies could be identified investigating the benefits of yoga for young adults with ID.
This study investigated the impact of participating in yoga classes on the amount of exercise behavior and perception of physical exertion when compared to non-structured exercise sessions between two young adults with ID in a post-secondary education setting.
Materials and Methods:
A single subject multiple baseline research design was implemented across two young adults with mild ID to determine the effects of a yoga exercise class on frequency of exercise behavior and perception of physical exertion when compared to non-structured exercise sessions. Partial interval recording, the Eston-Parfitt curvilinear rating of perceived exertion scale, and the physical activity enjoyment scale were implemented to collect data on dependent variables and consumer satisfaction during each non-structured exercise session and each yoga class.
indicated that percentage of exercise behavior and perceived exertion levels during yoga group exercise sharply increased with large effect sizes when compared to non-structured exercise sessions.
PMCID: PMC3410196  PMID: 22870001
Exercise; intellectual disabilities; post-secondary education; yoga
15.  Predictors of adherence to an Iyengar yoga program in breast cancer survivors 
Despite the known health benefits of physical activity, participation rates in cancer survivor groups remain low. Researchers have attempted to identify alternative modes of nontraditional physical activities that may increase participation and adherence rates. This study investigated the determinants of yoga in breast cancer survivors.
To examine predictors of Iyengar yoga adherence in breast cancer survivors using the theory of planned behaviour. Settings and Design: Classes were held either in Campus Recreation facilities or at the Behavioral Medicine Fitness Center at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. The study was an evaluation of an existing yoga program.
Materials and Methods:
Twenty-three post adjuvant therapy breast cancer survivors participating in a community-based, twice weekly, 12 week Iyengar yoga program were asked to complete baseline measures of the theory of planned behavior, demographic, medical, health/fitness, and psychosocial variables. Adherence was measured by objective attendance to the classes.
Statistical Analysis:
We analyzed univariate associations between predictors and yoga adherence with independent t-tests.
Adherence to the Iyengar yoga program was 63.9% and was predicted by stronger intention (P<0.001), greater self-efficacy (P=0.003), more positive instrumental attitude (Ps=0.025), higher disease stage (P=0.018), yoga experience in the past year, (P=0.044), diagnosis of a second cancer (P=0.008), lower fatigue (P=0.037), and greater happiness (P=0.023).
Adherence to Iyengar yoga in breast cancer survivors was strongly related to motivational variables from the theory of planned behaviour. Researchers attempting to improve yoga adherence in breast cancer survivors may benefit from targeting the key constructs in the theory of planned behaviour.
PMCID: PMC3276930  PMID: 22346059
Iyengar yoga; breast cancer; survivorship; correlates; adherence; theory of planned behavior
16.  Characteristics of Yoga Users: Results of a National Survey 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2008;23(10):1653-1658.
There are limited data on the characteristics of yoga users in the U.S.
To characterize yoga users, medical reasons for use, perceptions of helpfulness, and disclosure of use to medical professionals.
Utilizing cross-sectional survey data from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Alternative Medicine Supplement (n = 31044), we examined correlates of yoga use for health. The estimated prevalence from 2002 NHIS of yoga for health was 5.1% corresponding to over 10 million adults.
In 2002, yoga users were predominately Caucasian (85%) and female (76%) with a mean age of 39.5 years. Compared to non-yoga users, yoga users were more likely female (OR 3.76, 95% CI 3.11–4.33); less likely black than white (OR 0.65, 95% CI 0.53–0.80); tended to be younger; and more likely college educated (OR 2.70, 95% CI 2.37–3.08). Musculoskeletal conditions (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.42–1.83), mental health conditions (OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.22–1.67), severe sprains in the last 12 months (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.22–1.81), and asthma (OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.05–1.54) were independently associated with higher yoga use, while hypertension (OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.64–0.95) and chronic obstructive lung disease (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.48–1.00) were associated with lower use. Yoga was most commonly used to treat musculoskeletal or mental health conditions, and most users reported yoga to be helpful for these conditions. A majority of yoga users (61%) felt yoga was important in maintaining health, though only 25% disclosed yoga practice to their medical professional.
We found that yoga users are more likely to be white, female, young and college educated. Yoga users report benefit for musculoskeletal conditions and mental health, indicating that further research on the efficacy of yoga for the treatment and/or prevention of these conditions is warranted.
PMCID: PMC2533368  PMID: 18651193
yoga; complementary and alternative medicine (CAM); behavioral medicine
17.  Development of the Beliefs About Yoga Scale 
Beliefs about yoga may influence participation in yoga and outcomes of yoga interventions. There is currently no scale appropriate for assessing these beliefs in the general U.S. population. This study took the first steps in developing and validating a Beliefs About Yoga Scale (BAYS) to assess beliefs about yoga that may influence people’s engagement in yoga interventions. Items were generated based on previously published research about perceptions of yoga and reviewed by experts within the psychology and yoga communities. 426 adult participants were recruited from an urban medical center to respond to these items. The mean age was 40.7 (SD = 13.5) years. Participants completed the BAYS and seven additional indicators of criterion-related validity. The BAYS demonstrated internal consistency (11 items; α = 0.76) and three factors emerged: expected health benefits, expected discomfort, and expected social norms. The factor structure was confirmed: χ2 (41, n = 213) = 72.06, p < .001; RMSEA =.06, p = .23. Criterion-related validity was supported by positive associations of the BAYS with past experiences and future intentions related to yoga. This initial analysis of the BAYS demonstrated that it is an adequately reliable and valid measure of beliefs about yoga with a three-factor structure. However, the scale may need to be modified based on the population to which it is applied.
PMCID: PMC3360551  PMID: 22398348
yoga; mind-body therapies; health; self-efficacy; behavior change; social norms
18.  Yoga in adult cancer: a pilot survey of attitudes and beliefs among oncologists 
Current Oncology  2015;22(1):13-19.
Depending on interest, knowledge, and skills, oncologists are adapting clinical behaviour to include integrative approaches, supporting patients to make informed complementary care decisions. The present study sought to improve the knowledge base in three ways: Test the acceptability of a self-reported online survey for oncologists.Provide preliminary data collection concerning knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and current referral practices among oncologists with respect to yoga in adult cancer.List the perceived benefits of and barriers to yoga intervention from a clinical perspective.
A 38-item self-report questionnaire was administered online to medical, radiation, and surgical oncologists in British Columbia.
Some of the 29 oncologists who completed the survey (n = 10) reported having recommended yoga to patients to improve physical activity, fatigue, stress, insomnia, and muscle or joint stiffness. Other responding oncologists were hesitant or unlikely to suggest yoga for their patients because they had no knowledge of yoga as a therapy (n = 15) or believed that scientific evidence to support its use is lacking (n = 11). All 29 respondents would recommend that their patients participate in a clinical trial to test the efficacy of yoga. In qualitative findings, oncologists compared yoga with exercise and suggested that it might have similar psychological and physical health benefits that would improve patient capacity to endure treatment. Barriers to and limitations of yoga in adult cancer are also discussed.
An online self-report survey is feasible, but has response rate limitations. A small number of oncologists are currently recommending yoga to improve health-related outcomes in adult cancer. Respondents would support clinical yoga interventions to improve the evidence base in cancer patients, including men and women in all tumour groups.
PMCID: PMC4324339
Yoga; oncologists; surveys; cam
19.  Mediators of Yoga and Stretching for Chronic Low Back Pain 
Although yoga is an effective treatment for chronic low back pain, little is known about the mechanisms responsible for its benefits. In a trial comparing yoga to intensive stretching and self-care, we explored whether physical (hours of back exercise/week), cognitive (fear avoidance, body awareness, and self-efficacy), affective (psychological distress, perceived stress, positive states of mind, and sleep), and physiological factors (cortisol, DHEA) mediated the effects of yoga or stretching on back-related dysfunction (Roland-Morris Disability Scale (RDQ)). For yoga, 36% of the effect on 12-week RDQ was mediated by increased self-efficacy, 18% by sleep disturbance, 9% by hours of back exercise, and 61% by the best combination of all possible mediators (6 mediators). For stretching, 23% of the effect was mediated by increased self-efficacy, 14% by days of back exercise, and 50% by the best combination of all possible mediators (7 mediators). In open-ended questions, ≥20% of participants noted the following treatment benefits: learning new exercises (both groups), relaxation, increased awareness, and the benefits of breathing (yoga), benefits of regular practice (stretching). Although both self-efficacy and hours of back exercise were the strongest mediators for each intervention, compared to self-care, qualitative data suggest that they may exert their benefits through partially distinct mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3652191  PMID: 23690832
20.  P03.05. The Yoga Empowers Seniors Study (YESS) 
Focus Area: Integrative Approaches to Care
The Yoga Empowers Seniors Study (YESS) was an intervention development study (IDS) that used biomechanical investigation (high-speed cameras, force platforms, and musculoskeletal modeling) to quantify the physical demands of yoga performance by older adults. Secondarily, the YESS used physical-performance testing, muscle-performance testing, and flexibility and balance assessments to quantify the efficacy and safety of a 32-week yoga program for ambulatory seniors. The yoga program was divided into introductory and intermediate phases, each lasting 16 weeks. The participants (N=24; mean 70.7 years of age) learned the associated yoga poses (asanas) from a yoga instructor with expertise working with seniors. In order to quantify the physical demands of the program, the participants performed the asanas at the termination of each phase while instrumented for biomechanical analysis. Follow-up physical performance and balance assessments were conducted at the end of each phase in order to determine the efficacy of the program. Outcome measures included biomechanical indices of the physical demands associated with yoga (joint range-of-motion, joint moments), measures of muscular and functional performance (stair climb, chair stand, gait, strength, and static and dynamic balance), adherence, and safety. Data from the IDS will be used to develop evidenced-based yoga prescriptions, which we postulate will be associated with fewer musculoskeletal side effects compared to non–evidence-based yoga programs. We also postulate that evidenced-based tailoring of yoga for seniors will enhance adherence and efficacy.
PMCID: PMC3875008
21.  Effect of 12 weeks of yoga training on the somatization, psychological symptoms, and stress-related biomarkers of healthy women 
Previous studies have shown that the practice of yoga reduces perceived stress and negative feelings and that it improves psychological symptoms. Our previous study also suggested that long-term yoga training improves stress-related psychological symptoms such as anxiety and anger. However, little is known about the beneficial effects of yoga practice on somatization, the most common stress-related physical symptoms, and stress-related biomarkers. We performed a prospective, single arm study to examine the beneficial effects of 12 weeks of yoga training on somatization, psychological symptoms, and stress-related biomarkers.
We recruited healthy women who had no experience with yoga. The data of 24 participants who were followed during 12 weeks of yoga training were analyzed. Somatization and psychological symptoms were assessed before and after 12 weeks of yoga training using the Profile of Mood State (POMS) and the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) questionnaires. Urinary 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), biopyrrin, and cortisol levels were measured as stress-related biomarkers. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to compare the stress-related biomarkers and the scores of questionnaires before and after 12 weeks of yoga training.
After 12 weeks of yoga training, all negative subscale scores (tension-anxiety, depression, anger-hostility, fatigue, and confusion) from the POMS and somatization, anxiety, depression, and hostility from the SCL-90-R were significantly decreased compared with those before starting yoga training. Contrary to our expectation, the urinary 8-OHdG concentration after 12 weeks of yoga training showed a significant increase compared with that before starting yoga training. No significant changes were observed in the levels of urinary biopyrrin and cortisol after the 12 weeks of yoga training.
Yoga training has the potential to reduce the somatization score and the scores related to mental health indicators, such as anxiety, depression, anger, and fatigue. The present findings suggest that yoga can improve somatization and mental health status and has implications for the prevention of psychosomatic symptoms in healthy women.
Trial registration
University Hospital Medical Information Network (UMIN CTR) UMIN000007868.
PMCID: PMC3892034  PMID: 24383884
Yoga; Somatization; Psychological symptom; Stress; Biomarker; Anxiety; Depression; Anger; Hostility; Fatigue
22.  The efficacy of a comprehensive lifestyle modification programme based on yoga in the management of bronchial asthma: a randomized controlled trial 
There is a substantial body of evidence on the efficacy of yoga in the management of bronchial asthma. Many studies have reported, as the effects of yoga on bronchial asthma, significant improvements in pulmonary functions, quality of life and reduction in airway hyper-reactivity, frequency of attacks and medication use. In addition, a few studies have attempted to understand the effects of yoga on exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) or exercise tolerance capacity. However, none of these studies has investigated any immunological mechanisms by which yoga improves these variables in bronchial asthma.
The present randomized controlled trial (RCT) was conducted on 57 adult subjects with mild or moderate bronchial asthma who were allocated randomly to either the yoga (intervention) group (n = 29) or the wait-listed control group (n = 28). The control group received only conventional care and the yoga group received an intervention based on yoga, in addition to the conventional care. The intervention consisted of 2-wk supervised training in lifestyle modification and stress management based on yoga followed by closely monitored continuation of the practices at home for 6-wk. The outcome measures were assessed in both the groups at 0 wk (baseline), 2, 4 and 8 wk by using Generalized Linear Model (GLM) repeated measures followed by post-hoc analysis.
In the yoga group, there was a steady and progressive improvement in pulmonary function, the change being statistically significant in case of the first second of forced expiratory volume (FEV1) at 8 wk, and peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) at 2, 4 and 8 wk as compared to the corresponding baseline values. There was a significant reduction in EIB in the yoga group. However, there was no corresponding reduction in the urinary prostaglandin D2 metabolite (11β prostaglandin F2α) levels in response to the exercise challenge. There was also no significant change in serum eosinophilic cationic protein levels during the 8-wk study period in either group. There was a significant improvement in Asthma Quality of Life (AQOL) scores in both groups over the 8-wk study period. But the improvement was achieved earlier and was more complete in the yoga group. The number-needed-to-treat worked out to be 1.82 for the total AQOL score. An improvement in total AQOL score was greater than the minimal important difference and the same outcome was achieved for the sub-domains of the AQOL. The frequency of rescue medication use showed a significant decrease over the study period in both the groups. However, the decrease was achieved relatively earlier and was more marked in the yoga group than in the control group.
The present RCT has demonstrated that adding the mind-body approach of yoga to the predominantly physical approach of conventional care results in measurable improvement in subjective as well as objective outcomes in bronchial asthma. The trial supports the efficacy of yoga in the management of bronchial asthma. However, the preliminary efforts made towards working out the mechanism of action of the intervention have not thrown much light on how yoga works in bronchial asthma.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN00815962
PMCID: PMC2734746  PMID: 19643002
23.  Yoga as a Complementary Treatment of Depression: Effects of Traits and Moods on Treatment Outcome 
Preliminary findings support the potential of yoga as a complementary treatment of depressed patients who are taking anti-depressant medications but who are only in partial remission. The purpose of this article is to present further data on the intervention, focusing on individual differences in psychological, emotional and biological processes affecting treatment outcome. Twenty-seven women and 10 men were enrolled in the study, of whom 17 completed the intervention and pre- and post-intervention assessment data. The intervention consisted of 20 classes led by senior Iyengar yoga teachers, in three courses of 20 yoga classes each. All participants were diagnosed with unipolar major depression in partial remission. Psychological and biological characteristics were assessed pre- and post-intervention, and participants rated their mood states before and after each class. Significant reductions were shown for depression, anger, anxiety, neurotic symptoms and low frequency heart rate variability in the 17 completers. Eleven out of these completers achieved remission levels post-intervention. Participants who remitted differed from the non-remitters at intake on several traits and on physiological measures indicative of a greater capacity for emotional regulation. Moods improved from before to after the yoga classes. Yoga appears to be a promising intervention for depression; it is cost-effective and easy to implement. It produces many beneficial emotional, psychological and biological effects, as supported by observations in this study. The physiological methods are especially useful as they provide objective markers of the processes and effectiveness of treatment. These observations may help guide further clinical application of yoga in depression and other mental health disorders, and future research on the processes and mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC2176141  PMID: 18227917
anger; anxiety; baroreflex sensitivity; heart rate variability; unipolar major depression
24.  Can yoga practices benefit health by improving organism regulation? Evidence from electrodermal measures of acupuncture meridians 
International Journal of Yoga  2014;7(1):32-40.
To document and explain Yoga's effects on acupuncture meridian energies. To understand mechanisms behind Yoga's efficacy by testing links between yoga and traditional Chinese medicine.
Materials and Methods:
The study compared two groups of yoga practitioners: Novice and experienced. Novices consisted of 33 volunteers from a Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA) yoga instructor training module and the experienced practitioners were 20 resident SVYASA students. The intervention was 3 weeks of a yoga training program, new for the novices, but the lifestyle of the experienced group, who were therefore assessed only once. Novices were assessed on day 2 and 23 of their program at SVYASA's Yoga Medicine Hospital, making their data a pre-post, self-as-control, prospective study. Main outcome measures were mean acumeridian energy levels assessed by AcuGraph3 measures of electrodermal resistance at acupoints; additionally, gender differences, standard deviations (SDs) of all measures, and comparison of post and experienced group data.
Averaged energy levels significantly improved in all 24 meridians (maximum P = 0.032, 4-P < 0.01, and 19-P < 0.001). Females improved more than males (P < 0.05), both ending at similar levels to experienced practitioners, whose SDs were lower than novices on 19/24 meridians (mean F = 3.715, P = 0.0022), and 4/5 average variables.
AcuGraph3 electrodermal measures contain substantial information, P << 0.00001. Yoga-lifestyle practice can increase and balance acumeridian energies; long-term practice decreases group SD's. These three suggest reasons why yoga practice impacts health: One, increased prana levels are important; two and three, improved physiological regulation is the key. Further studies relating traditional Indian and Chinese medical systems are needed.
PMCID: PMC4097913  PMID: 25035605
AcuGraph3; energy balance; energy regulation; Jing-Well points; prana; yoga
25.  Muscle-Strengthening and Conditioning Activities and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Prospective Study in Two Cohorts of US Women 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(1):e1001587.
Anders Grøntved and colleagues examined whether women who perform muscle-strengthening and conditioning activities have an associated reduced risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
It is well established that aerobic physical activity can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), but whether muscle-strengthening activities are beneficial for the prevention of T2D is unclear. This study examined the association of muscle-strengthening activities with the risk of T2D in women.
Methods and Findings
We prospectively followed up 99,316 middle-aged and older women for 8 years from the Nurses' Health Study ([NHS] aged 53–81 years, 2000–2008) and Nurses' Health Study II ([NHSII] aged 36–55 years, 2001–2009), who were free of diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases at baseline. Participants reported weekly time spent on resistance exercise, lower intensity muscular conditioning exercises (yoga, stretching, toning), and aerobic moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at baseline and in 2004/2005. Cox regression with adjustment for major determinants for T2D was carried out to examine the influence of these types of activities on T2D risk. During 705,869 person years of follow-up, 3,491 incident T2D cases were documented. In multivariable adjusted models including aerobic MVPA, the pooled relative risk (RR) for T2D for women performing 1–29, 30–59, 60–150, and >150 min/week of total muscle-strengthening and conditioning activities was 0.83, 0.93, 0.75, and 0.60 compared to women reporting no muscle-strengthening and conditioning activities (p<0.001 for trend). Furthermore, resistance exercise and lower intensity muscular conditioning exercises were each independently associated with lower risk of T2D in pooled analyses. Women who engaged in at least 150 min/week of aerobic MVPA and at least 60 min/week of muscle-strengthening activities had substantial risk reduction compared with inactive women (pooled RR = 0.33 [95% CI 0.29–0.38]). Limitations to the study include that muscle-strengthening and conditioning activity and other types of physical activity were assessed by a self-administered questionnaire and that the study population consisted of registered nurses with mostly European ancestry.
Our study suggests that engagement in muscle-strengthening and conditioning activities (resistance exercise, yoga, stretching, toning) is associated with a lower risk of T2D. Engagement in both aerobic MVPA and muscle-strengthening type activity is associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of T2D in middle-aged and older women.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Worldwide, more than 370 million people have diabetes mellitus, a disorder characterized by poor glycemic control—dangerously high amounts of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Blood sugar levels are normally controlled by insulin, a hormone released by the pancreas. In people with type 2 diabetes (the commonest form of diabetes), blood sugar control fails because the fat and muscle cells that normally respond to insulin by removing excess sugar from the blood become less responsive to insulin. Type 2 diabetes, which was previously known as adult-onset diabetes, can often initially be controlled with diet and exercise, and with antidiabetic drugs such as metformin and sulfonylureas. However, as the disease progresses, the pancreatic beta cells, which make insulin, become impaired and patients may eventually need insulin injections. Long-term complications of diabetes, which include an increased risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and stroke, reduce the life expectancy of people with diabetes by about 10 years compared to people without diabetes.
Why Was This Study Done?
Type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly common worldwide so better preventative strategies are essential. It is well-established that regular aerobic exercise—physical activity in which the breathing and heart rate increase noticeably such as jogging, brisk walking, and swimming—lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. The World Health Organization currently recommends that adults should do at least 150 min/week of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic physical activity to reduce the risk of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases. It also recommends that adults should undertake muscle-strengthening and conditioning activities such as weight training and yoga on two or more days a week. However, although studies have shown that muscle-strengthening activity improves glycemic control in people who already have diabetes, it is unclear whether this form of exercise prevents diabetes. In this prospective cohort study (a study in which disease development is followed up over time in a group of people whose characteristics are recorded at baseline), the researchers investigated the association of muscle-strengthening activities with the risk of type 2 diabetes in women.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers followed up nearly 100,000 women enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and the Nurses' Health Study II (NHSII), two prospective US investigations into risk factors for chronic diseases in women, for 8 years. The women provided information on weekly participation in muscle-strengthening exercise (for example, weight training), lower intensity muscle-conditioning exercises (for example, yoga and toning), and aerobic moderate and vigorous physical activity (aerobic MVPA) at baseline and 4 years later. During the study 3,491 women developed diabetes. After allowing for major risk factors for type 2 diabetes (for example, diet and a family history of diabetes) and for aerobic MVPA, compared to women who did no muscle-strengthening or conditioning exercise, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes among women declined with increasing participation in muscle-strengthening and conditioning activity. Notably, women who did more than 150 min/week of these types of exercise had 40% lower risk of developing diabetes as women who did not exercise in this way at all. Muscle-strengthening and muscle-conditioning exercise were both independently associated with reduced diabetes risk, and women who engaged in at least 150 min/week of aerobic MVPA and at least 60 min/week of muscle-strengthening exercise were a third as likely to develop diabetes as inactive women.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that, among the women enrolled in NHS and NHSII, engagement in muscle-strengthening and conditioning activities lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes independent of aerobic MVPA. That is, non-aerobic exercise provided protection against diabetes in women who did no aerobic exercise. Importantly, they also show that doing both aerobic exercise and muscle-strengthening exercise substantially reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes. Because nearly all the participants in NHS and NHSII were of European ancestry, these results may not be generalizable to women of other ethnic backgrounds. Moreover, the accuracy of these findings may be limited by the use of self-administered questionnaires to determine how much exercise the women undertook. Nevertheless, these findings support the inclusion of muscle-strengthening and conditioning exercises in strategies designed to prevent type 2 diabetes in women, a conclusion that is consistent with current guidelines for physical activity among adults.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse provides information about diabetes for patients, health-care professionals and the general public, including information on diabetes prevention (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information for patients and carers about type 2 diabetes and explains the benefits of regular physical activity
The World Health Organization provides information about diabetes and about physical activity and health (in several languages); its 2010 Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health are available in several languages
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on physical activity for different age groups; its Physical Activity for Everyone web pages include guidelines, instructional videos and personal success stories
More information about the Nurses Health Study and the Nurses Health Study II is available
The UK charity Healthtalkonline has interviews with people about their experiences of diabetes
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources and advice about diabetes and about physical exercise and fitness (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC3891575  PMID: 24453948

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