Stephanie Sontag, Lyric Richardson, Alex Olmos, Sunggun Jeon and Michael Trevino

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

PURPOSE: Yoga has many potential overall health benefits; however, much performance focused yoga research is targeted at specific populations (sedentary/untrained, diseased, older adults). This study examined the effects of yoga on balance, mobility, and upper body strength and endurance in healthy adults with no injury or disease. METHODS: Eight healthy, adult males and females (X̅±SD; age = 23.4±4.9yrs, height = 175.1±6.1cm, body mass = 79.9±12.8kg) participated in 8 weeks of yoga twice per week (16 1-hour sessions). Participants reported various physical activity histories prior to the study. Pre- and post-testing included balance with an extended balance error scoring system (BESS), functional movement screening (FMS), sit and reach, 20 joint range of motion (ROM) measurements with goniometry, grip strength, and the ACSM push-up test. Repeated measures ANOVAs (2x2; side x time) and paired samples t-tests were used for statistical analyses. Alpha was p≤0.05. RESULTS: Balance improved pre to post for total BESS score (22.8±9.2 to 17.7±6.0 errors, p=0.035) and on the foam- (19.9±7.6 to 14.8±3.8 errors, p=0.025), but not the firm-surface (p=0.732). Total FMS score improved pre to post (15.4±1.3 to 17.5±1.1, p=0.004). Sit and reach improved pre to post (33.3±10.9 to 36.6±11.1 cm, p=0.006). Sixteen joint ROM measures were insignificant (p>0.05). There was a significant side by time interaction for wrist extension ROM (p=0.010), and follow-up t-tests showed significance for only the dominant side (pre 62.8±9.8°, post 70.3±7.0°; p=0.005). Additionally, there were improvements from pre to post for shoulder horizontal adduction ROM (29.1±5.9 to 33.9±5.8°, p=0.032), shoulder flexion ROM (162.4±10.0 to 170.7±6.8°, p=0.008), and shoulder abduction ROM (155.8±22.1 to 173.4±14.6°, p=0.001) when collapsed across sides. Grip strength did not increase from pre to post (p=0.078), but there was a main effect with the dominant side (53.3±16.1 kg) stronger than the non-dominant side (51.1±15.1 kg, p=0.003) collapsed across time. ACSM push-up test improved pre to post (23.8±15.1 to 28.8±11.7 reps, p=0.025). CONCLUSION: Yoga was an effective intervention for improving balance, flexibility, movement quality, upper body ROM, and upper body muscular endurance for healthy adults with various physical activity histories.

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