Background: Hatha Yoga (HY) is an alternative exercise system for improving health in adults and older people with low physical capacity. Although the HY benefits on cardiovascular health have been demonstrated, its physical determinants haven’t been demonstrated. Therefore, this study evaluates the effect of an HY intervention on cardiovascular risk factors, in physically active adult women.
Methods: Sixteen healthy and physically active adult women (56.31±10.47 years) were enrolled into an 11-week HY program (55 sessions/ 90 min each session). The program adherence, asana performance and work intensity were assessed along the intervention. Anthropometry and biochemical analysis were evaluated before, and after HY intervention. Cardiovascular fitness and dietary parameters were evaluated before and after HY intervention.
Results: A decreased of ~1.5 kg of body fat and ~17 mm of skinfold thickness (p<0.05) was detected in women. Total serum cholesterol, HDL-C, LDL-C, glucose and lactate increased 27 mg/dl, 11 mg/dl, 19 mg/dl, 11 mg/dl and 5 mM, respectively (p<0.05). The maximum oxygen uptake (VO 2 peak) increased ~3 ml/kg/min. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased 6 mmHg and 3 mmHg respectively (p<0.05). Heart rate (56 ± 8 beats/min) during HY determined changes in the Σ skin folds and systolic blood pressure (78 and 58% of the variance, respectively). Likewise Asana performance skills determined changes in HDL-C, glucose and maximal lactate (79, 42 and 89% of the variance, respectively). Finally, the program adherence, measured as % session attendance”, determined changes in diastolic blood pressure (55% of the variance).
Conclusions: The proposed HY intervention improves physical fitness and reduces CVD risk factors in physically active adult women. In addition, heart rate during HY exercise, asana performance skills and percentage assistance to the intervention program, determined about 42-89% of the changes in cardiovascular health in senior physically active women.