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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 208-214

Effects of 12 weeks yoga practice on body composition and cardiopulmonary status of 10–12 years female volunteers


1 Department of Physiology, Midnapore College (Autonomous), Midnapore, West Bengal, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Midnapore Medical College and Hospital, Midnapore, West Bengal, India

Date of Submission07-Oct-2019
Date of Decision28-Apr-2020
Date of Acceptance22-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication23-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Indranil Manna
Department of Physiology, Midnapore College (Autonomous), Midnapore - 721 101, West Bengal
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/amhs.amhs_143_19

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  Abstract 


Background and Aim: Yoga practice may be beneficial for promotion of good health and mental well-being of the children and helps them to adopt with the changing environment. The present study has been designed to find out the effects of 12 weeks of yoga practice on body composition and cardiopulmonary variables of 10–12 years female volunteers. Materials and Methods: Ninety-eight healthy female children volunteers (age 10–12 years) were screened, among them thirty eight were excluded, and the remaining 60 volunteers were randomly divided into: (i) experimental Group (n =30) and (b) control Group (n =30). Yoga practice (60 min/d, 06 d/wk for 12 wks) was followed in the yoga group with no yoga practice in control group. Body composition, heart rate, blood pressure, and pulmonary functions were assessed in both the groups at the beginning (0 week) and after 12 weeks. Results: Significant increase (P < 0.05) in forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), maximum ventilatory volume (MVV) and breath-holding time (BHT) and; decrease (P < 0.05) in percent body fat, total fat mass, body mass, resting heart rate (RHR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), respiratory rate (RR) were noted following a 12 week yoga practice among the yoga group participants. Further, the yoga group had significantly (P < 0.05) greater FVC, FEV1, MVV, and BHT and decreased fat mass, SBP, RHR, and RR when compared to the control group after 12 weeks of the study. In the control group, no such changes were noticed after 12 weeks of the study. Conclusion: Regular practice of yogic asanas, pranayama, and meditation improves body composition and cardiopulmonary functions of children.

Keywords: Blood pressure, body composition, children, pulmonary function, yoga


How to cite this article:
Manna I, Chowdhury M. Effects of 12 weeks yoga practice on body composition and cardiopulmonary status of 10–12 years female volunteers. Arch Med Health Sci 2020;8:208-14

How to cite this URL:
Manna I, Chowdhury M. Effects of 12 weeks yoga practice on body composition and cardiopulmonary status of 10–12 years female volunteers. Arch Med Health Sci [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 18];8:208-14. Available from: https://www.amhsjournal.org/text.asp?2020/8/2/208/304708




  Introduction Top


Yoga education among children in school setup may be beneficial for promotion of good health and mental well-being and helps them to adopt with the changing environment and stress in their daily life. Yoga with origins in ancient India has several subtypes and incorporates asana (posture-physical exercise), pranayama (breathing exercise), and meditation (focusing mind on a particular object) that includes a combination of techniques, which is suggested to have beneficial effects on the body, mind, and emotional well-beings. Yoga practice performed by the way of physical exercise (asana and pranayama) and mental relaxation (meditation) techniques, which affects both physical fitness and mental health.[1] Yoga practice can be performed by people of any age group and gender and can be applied on the children during their developmental phase of life.[1] A recent study suggested that yoga practice in the school children may be an effective way to improve their health.[2],[3] It has been observed that yogic exercise practice in school setups may be useful to develop flexibility, mood, and self-regulation skills related to emotion and stress among the children.[4] Yoga provides fun, recreation, and social and cultural experience in the school environment. Thus, yoga not only helps in physical and motor development but also promotes the social and emotional well-being.

The traditional way of yoga is a holistic practice system which includes changes in physical postures and exercises (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and techniques for deep relaxation of mind and spirit (meditation). Pranayama (breath regulation) is an essential component of yoga, which also influences the physiological systems. The recent research review point outs the beneficial effects of Pranayama (yogic breathing techniques) in both physiological and clinical setups. The therapeutic aspects of yogic breathing on the neurocognitive, psychophysiological, respiratory, biochemical, and metabolic functions in healthy individuals were also observed.[1],[5] Yoga and meditation as connected therapies for promoting and maintaining eudemonia provide a wonderful example of the mind–body association. Yoga causes balance, physically and emotionally, using asanas and pranayama. Meditation opens the door to self-actualization to create the perfect union of the mind, body, and spirit.[6] The holistic approach of yoga to exhale physical and mental status, and even be spiritually and socially aware, would possibly focus on finding inner peace.[6] The therapeutic applications of yoga on children and adolescents showed improvement in physical and mental health.[7],[8] Regular practice of yogic asanas, pranayama and meditation improves physical fitness, self regulation and mind body awareness, which in turn affects the health, mental state, behavior and performance of the children.[1],[3],[4] The practice of meditation and spiritual awareness enhances the mind and body coordination, which is essential for positive behaviors and outcomes.[8],[9]

The female children within the age group 10–12 years undergo various physical and physiological changes. A balanced body composition and cardiorespiratory status is required to maintain health and develop personality to become a good citizen in future. Yoga may be useful to keep physical fitness, self-regulation, and mind–body awareness; this in turn may affect the health, mental state, behavior, and performance of the children. In view of the above, the present investigation has been designed to find out the effects of 12 weeks of yoga practice on body composition and cardiopulmonary functions of 10–12 years female volunteers.


  Materials and Methods Top


Subjects and group

For the present study, ninety-eight (n = 98) healthy female volunteers within the age group of 10–12 years were screened randomly from the Midnapore District, West Bengal, India. Subjects had not been engaged in yoga practice or any physical exercise at least 2 years preceding the study were considered eligible for this study. Subjects without a history of disease and illness were included. This decision was made based on the medical examination performed by physicians. Participants were excluded from the study if they had a history of disease and illness for at least 03 months prior to the commencement of the study. All the volunteers went through a medical examination performed by physicians. Thirty-eight (not meeting the inclusion criteria = six; decline to participate = eleven; inability to perform yoga = ten; and unable to follow the schedule = eleven) participants were excluded from the study. The remaining sixty volunteers were randomly divided into two groups: (a) yoga Group (n = 30) and (b) control Group (n = 30).

Ethical considerations

The investigator followed the principles of human rights and ethical issues related to the Human Studies. The purpose and the possible complications of the study were clearly explained to all participants, parent/legal guardian, and school authorities, and written consent was obtained. The yoga group participants were informed not to involve in any other physical activity during the entire period of the study. The children of the control group were also given the information for recreational activities and were asked to follow the same throughout the period of the study. The participants were asked to keep up their traditional diet and refrain from smoking and alcohol throughout the experiment. The experimental protocol was approved by the Institutional Ethical Committee (Human Studies) (Ref No. MC/IEC (HS)/PHY/FP02/2016; date: June 7, 2016).

Experimental design

The volunteers were acclimatized for 15 days prior to the intervention, whereas the intervention was carried out for a period of twelve weeks. Yoga training was provided in the yoga group, whereas no yoga training was given to the control group and was allowed for recreational activities. Yoga training was given by qualified yoga instructors for 60 min/day, 6 days/week for 12-weeks duration following a standard protocol.[10] The yoga practice and/or recreational activities sessions took place during the routine sports class in the schools. The yoga intervention was followed including the three basic elements of western yoga: (a) physical postures (asana), (b) breathing exercises (pranayama), and (c) meditation. The participants were advised to perform a prayer followed by Om chanting and Gaytri mantra to concentrate their mind and prepare to the activities. Then the participants performed free hand warm-up exercises (Yogic SukshmVyayam) for 10 min to prepare for them for the yogic asanas and other activities. The children of the yoga group were then advised to follow Surya Namaskar for about 12 min. The participants were then asked to perform yogasana (physical exercises) for about 10 min, which included Shavasana, Supt Pawan Muktasana, Kandrasana, Makarasana, Shalabhasana, Bhujangasana, Mandukasana, Usharasana, and Gomukhasana. Surya Namaskar and yogasanas involve movements of different body parts and stretching exercises. The aim of this phase of yoga class was to strengthen the muscle of the body. The second part of yoga involves Pranayama (breathing exercise), which was conducted for 15 min duration. The pranayama includes Kapal Bhati, Mahabandh, Laybadh Shvas Prashwas, Nadi Shodhan, and Ujjayi and Bhramari Pranaya primarily aimed to emphasis the respiratory system. The children were then advised to perform meditation (focusing mind on a particular object) for 5 min. The meditation techniques help in deep relaxation of mind and spirit. Finally, the participants performed Ajpa Jap and Shanti Mantra to maintain peaceful mind and soul [Table 1].
Table 1: Contents of yogic package practiced by the volunteers during the training schedule

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Assessment of body composition and cardiopulmonary functions was performed in both the groups at the beginning (0 week) and after 12 weeks of the study. The participant flow during the study is shown in [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Consort flow chart

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Measurements

Determination of body composition variables

The height (stature) was measured by the stadiometer (Seca 220, UK), having accuracy recorded to the nearest 0.5 centimeters (cm).[11] The stature was recorded in centimeters. The body mass of the subject was taken on a standard electronic weighing machine (Seca Alpha 770, UK), having accuracy recorded to the nearest 50 g (gm). The body mass was recorded in kilograms.[11] Body mass index (BMI) and body surface area (BSA) were derived from the following equation using body mass and stature.[11] BMI and BSA: The following equations are applied for the determination of BMI and BSA.[11]

BMI = weight (kg)/height (m2)

BSA (m2) = body mass (kg)0.425 × height (cm)0.725 × 71.84/10,000

A skinfold caliper (Holtain Limited, UK) was used to assess the body fat percentage following standard methodology.[12] Body density was calculated by the standard formulae.[13] The skinfold thickness at the site of biceps, triceps, subscapular, and suprailiac was used to calculate the body density. Computation of percent body fat was derived using the standard equation.[12] Fat mass and lean body mass (LBM) were computed using the standard equation.[12]

BD = 1.1369 - (0.0598 × L)

Body fat (%) = (495/BD) -450

Fat mass (FM) FM (kg) = (body mass [kg] body fat [%])/100

LBM (kg) = body mass (kg) - FM (kg)

Assessment of cardiovascular functions

The cardiovascular functions including resting hear rate (RHR) and blood pressure of the volunteers are measured in seating position after taking 15 min rest using the standard procedure.[14]

Assessment of pulmonary functions

The pulmonary functions including the standards lung functions tests were followed. The parameters such as forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR), and maximum ventilatory volume (MVV) were measured following a standard procedure using an electronic spirometer (Spirobank II, MIR, USA).[15] Respiratory rate (RR) was recorded by observing abdominal wall movement in sitting position after sufficient rest. Breath holding time (BHT) was measured in seconds from the time of holding breath after quit expiration till the breaking point of the held breath by using a stop watch in comfortable sitting position in which subjects were asked to hold breath by closing both nostrils voluntarily by pinching nose between her thumb and index finger and closed mouth.

Statistical analysis

A standard statistical software package IBM SSPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 20.0. (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY: USA) was used for the statistical analysis. Descriptive statistics including the mean and standard deviation were computed. The Shapiro–Wilk normality test was conducted to check whether the data were normally distributed. The paired sample t-test was used to find out the differences among the withingroup and betweengroup variables.[16],[17] The significant level was chosen at P = 0.05.


  Results Top


Effects of yoga practice on body composition

The body composition variables showed that there was significant reduction (P < 0.05) in percentage of percent body fat, total fat mass, and body mass in the yoga group after 12 weeks of yoga practice when compared to baseline data (0 week). However, there was no significant difference in height, BMI, BSA, and LBM in the yoga group after 12 weeks of training when compared to baseline data. Further, it was observed that the yoga group had significantly (P < 0.05) reduced fat mass and body mass when compared to the control group after 12 weeks of study. In the control group, no such changes were noticed after 12 weeks of study [Table 2].
Table 2: Effects of yoga practice on body composition of yoga and control group subjects

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Effects of yoga practice on cardiovascular functions

A significant reduction (P < 0.05) in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and resting heart rate (RHR) were noted in the yoga group after 12 weeks of yoga practice when compared to baseline data (0 week). However, there was no significant change in diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in the yoga group after 12 weeks of yoga training when compared to baseline data. Further, the yoga group had significantly (P < 0.05) decreased SBP and RHR when compared to control group after 12 weeks of the study. In the control group, no such changes were noticed after 12 weeks of study [Table 3].
Table 3: Effects of yoga practice on blood pressure and heart rate response of yoga and control group subjects

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Effects of yoga practice on pulmonary functions

It has been reported that there was significant increase (P < 0.05) in FVC, FEV1, PEFR, MVV, and BHT among the yoga group subjects after 12 weeks of yoga practice when compared to baseline data (0 week). On the other hand, there was a significant reduction (P < 0.05) in RR among the yoga group subjects after 12 weeks of yoga training when compared to baseline data. Further, the yoga group had significantly (P < 0.05) greater FVC, FEV1, MVV, and BHT and lower (P < 0.05) RR when compared to the control group subjects after 12 weeks of the study. In the control group, no such changes were noticed after 12 weeks of the study [Table 4].
Table 4: Effects of yoga practice on pulmonary functions of yoga and control group subjects

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  Discussion Top


The comparison of body composition and cardiopulmonary functions of female children of yoga group and control group was studied for 12 weeks, and the intervention showed a significant improvement in these variables within the yoga group. The present study showed a significant reduction in body fat percent, RHR, SBP, RR, and significant elevation in FVC, FEV1, PEFR, MVV, and BHT following a 12-week yoga practice among the yoga group participants. Further, the volunteers of the yoga group had significantly greater FVC, FEV1, MVV, and BHT and decreased fat mass, SBP, RHR, and RR when compared to control group after 12 weeks of study. These changes depend on the preexisting fitness levels and yoga practice adopted by the female children volunteers of the yoga group.

Yoga has a role in maintaining good health and physical fitness. In the present study, significant reduction in body fat was noted among the female children after 12 week of yoga practice. The reduction in body fat might be due to the fact that the children underwent a high level of yogic exercise over a period of time, which resulted in lowering of body fat percentage. Yoga involves deep nostril breathing, flexibility of limbs, and stretching of different body parts, which might be the cause of reduction of body fat of the children practicing yoga. The reduction of body fat might influence the body mass and hence in the present study significant reduction of body mass was noted among the volunteers practicing yoga. The children of the yoga group showed lower fat mass when compared to control group after 12 weeks of study. The change in fat mass might be due to the effects of yoga practice performed by the children of the yoga group compared to the control group children. Further, no significant change in body fat, body mass, BMI, BSA, and LBM was observed among the children of the control group after 12 weeks of study. It can be stated that as the children of the control group were restricted from practicing yoga; no change in body fat, body mass, BMI, BSA, and LBM was observed among them. Similar observations were noted by many researchers where reduction in body fat was noted after yoga training.[18],[19] On the other hand, no significant change in BMI, BSA, and LBM was noted among the female children of the yoga group after 12 weeks of yoga practice. It was possibly owing to improper optimization of the practice or because of short duration of yoga practice session. It was suggested that an increase in body fat can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, and many other complications.[18],[19] Regular yoga exercise practice may keep up the normal level of body fat and lowers the risk of obesity, diabetes, etc., and helps to maintaining healthy lifestyle in school children.

Heart rate and blood pressure are essential for assessing cardiovascular fitness. The cardiovascular response in yoga was studied in the present experiment and it has been seen that there was significant reduction in SBP and RHR among children of the yoga group after 12 weeks of yoga training when compared to baseline data. However, there was no significant change in DBP among the yoga group children after 12 weeks of yoga training. It can be stated that yoga involves physical activities (asanas), flexibility of limbs, stretching of different body parts and breathing exercises (prayanama) which might be the cause of reduction of SBP and heart rate of the female children participated in 12 weeks of yoga training. The children of the yoga group had decreased SBP and RHR when compared to control group after 12 weeks of study. The change in blood pressure (SBP) and RHR might be due to the effects of yoga practice performed by the children of the yoga group compared to control group children. However, no significant change in blood pressure and heart rate was observed among the children of the control group after 12 weeks of study. The children of the control group were not allowed for practicing yoga; that might be the reason for the unaltered blood pressure and heart rate among them. Similar observations were noted by many researchers where reduction in blood pressure and heart rate was noted after yoga training.[20],[21] These results highlighted the importance of multidisciplinary approach of yoga for maintaining the cardiovascular status of the childhood. The comparison of the effective score for blood pressure and rate between yoga and control group revealed that the intervention should be long-term to bring the desired change in DBP than SBP which is also consistent with various study findings.[24],[25],[26] Reduction in heart rate and blood pressure indicate a shift in the balancing components of autonomic nervous system towards the parasympathetic activity.[20],[21] This modulation of autonomic nervous system activity might have been brought about through the conditioning effect of yoga on autonomic functions and mediated through the limbic system and higher areas of CNS.[25],[26],[27] Regular practice of yoga will increase the baroreflex sensitivity and reduces the sympathetic tone; thereby restoring pressure to traditional level in patients of essential hypertension.[25],[26],[27] Regular practice of meditation can reduce the anxiety and stress; that can have beneficial effects on blood pressure and heart rate.[25],[26] Elevation in heart rate and blood pressure variables indicate the risk factors for cardiovascular disease.[24] Therefore, it can be stated that regular yoga practice may restore normal heart rate and blood pressure which are essential to maintain disease free life. The practice of yoga helps the children to maintain their cardiovascular status that will help them to keep healthy life style even in their adulthood.

Pulmonary functions are essential for assessing the respiratory status of the subject. The pulmonary functions in response to yoga was studied in the present experiment and it has been observed that there was significant increase in FVC, FEV1, PEFR, MVV, and BHT and significant reduction in RR among the children of yoga group after 12 weeks of yoga practice when compared to that of the baseline data (0 week). It can be stated that yoga involves Asana (posture-physical exercise), Pranayama (breathing exercise) and meditation (an approach to training the mind or focusing mind on a particular object) which might be the cause of increase in FVC, FEV1, PEFR, MVV, and BHT and reduction in RR after yoga training. Yoga exercise and postures involve isometric contraction which might increase strength of respiratory muscles including diaphragm, intercostals muscles, and abdominal muscles and hence the increase in FVC, FEV1, PEFR, MVV, and BHT and reduction in RR was observed after yoga training. The female children of the yoga group had significantly (P < 0.05) greater FVC, FEV1, MVV, and BHT and decreased RR when compared to control group after 12 weeks of study. The elevation of FVC, FEV1, MVV, and BHT and decreased RR might be due to the effects of yoga practice performed by the children of the yoga group compared to the control group children. On the other hand, no significant change in FVC, FEV1, MVV, BHT, and RR were observed among the children of the control group after 12 weeks of study. It can be suggested that as the children of the control group were not engaged in yoga therefore, no change in pulmonary functions were observed among them. An earlier study reported that regular Yoga practice resulted in decrease in resting RR, improvement in BHT and MVV.[6],[28],[29] Similar observations have been reported by many researchers.[3],[10],[30] During Kapalbhati involvement of the abdominal muscles and diaphragm produces greater force of contraction of the muscles thus produce greater force during exhalation.[24] This produces short powerful strokes of exhalation in quick succession with contraction of abdominal and diaphragm muscles which trains the subject to make full use of diaphragm and abdominal muscles in breathing.[6],[28],[29] Thus, yoga training might improves the strength of respiratory muscles performance which may in turn increased FEV1 in yoga group subjects. Anulom-vilom (Nadi Shodhan) alternate nostril breathing technique a part of pranayama increases the resistance of respiratory muscles which may increase PEFRs and FEV1 due to strengthening of respiratory muscles. During yoga practice variation in breathing techniques may cause the respiratory apparatus to empty and fill quickly, completely and efficiently which may intern increased FVC.[6],[28],[29] Pranayama may influence the higher center of the brain that regulates respiration which is responsible for increase in the voluntary BHT and lowers the resting RR (RRR).[31],[32] Yoga with its calming effect on the mind can reduce and release emotional stresses, hereby withdrawing the broncho-constrictor effect.[6],[28],[29] Meditation a part of yoga practice has an impact on the cognitive perception; it decreases the psychological strain and thus takes away the bronchoconstrictor action.[31],[32] Thus, regular yoga practice may improve the pulmonary functions which are essential to maintain disease free lifestyle.


  Conclusion Top


Children spend a considerable span of time in school. Schools play an essential role in helping children to develop social and academic skills that are required to be successful as adults. Yoga helps in physical and motor development also promotes the social and emotional well-being among school children. The present study demonstrated that yoga practice among school children may be an effective measure to develop fitness and health. The findings of the present study demonstrated the efficacy of yoga exercise on body composition, cardiovascular and pulmonary functions in healthy female children. Regular practice of yoga among the school children may be helpful to develop physical fitness, health, and help them to maintain disease free lifestyle, which in turn develops personality to become a good citizen in future.

Acknowledgment

The authors sincerely and wholeheartedly acknowledge the contribution of the volunteers who have participated in this study. The authors are also thankful to the UG and PG students, coaches, and laboratory staffs for extending their support for conducting the present study.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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