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Effect of a 16-Week Yoga Program on Blood Pressure in Healthy College Students

Debra Nelson, Justy Reed, Sarah M. Buck

Abstract


 

 The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of a 16-week yoga program on blood pressure (BP) in healthy college students. Twenty-five students (Mage = 28.24, SD = 10.64) participated in yoga class twice per week for 16 weeks. Thirty-one students (Mage = 28.77, SD = 7.23) attended a lecture (control condition) at approximately the same time as yoga. Resting systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) were assessed at the beginning and end of the 16-week semester. Repeated measures ANCOVAs with pre-study BP as the covariate were used to test group BP differences across time (pre- to post-study). The SBP ANCOVA indicated yoga had a moderate statistically significant greater effect on lowering SBP compared to the control condition (p = .03, ES = .61). The DBP ANCOVA revealed that yoga produced a small statistically nonsignificant greater effect on lowering DBP compared to the control condition (p = .22, ES = .24). After the additional demographic variables were considered, regression analyses showed that the effect of yoga on lowering SBP compared to the control remained significant (p = .04), and the effect of yoga on lowering DBP compared to the control remained nonsignificant (p = .32). The results support regular yoga practice as a method of lowering SBP in healthy college students. 


Keywords


blood pressure; yoga

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