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Background:

Obesity is associated with arterial stiffening and diminished quality of life. Bikram yoga may be a feasible alternative to traditional exercise among obese individuals. Accordingly, the purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of Bikram yoga, a heated style of hatha yoga, on arterial stiffness in normal and overweight/obese adults.

Methods:

Forty-three (23 normal body mass index or BMI; 20 overweight/obese) apparently healthy participants completed an 8-week Bikram yoga intervention. Body composition was estimated via dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, arterial stiffness was measured via brachialankle pulse wave velocity, and health-related quality of life was assessed via RAND 36-Item Short Form survey at baseline and at the end of the 8-week intervention.

Results:

After the intervention, brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity decreased (P < .05) in overweight/obese participants while no such changes were observed in normal BMI participants. In the quality of life measures, emotional well-being improved (P < .05) in both groups, and general health improved (P < .05) only in the normal weight BMI group.

Conclusion:

Bikram yoga ameliorates arterial stiffness in overweight/obese adults and can positively impact quality of life regardless of BMI.

The authors are with the Cardiovascular Aging Research Laboratory, Dept of Kinesiology and Health Education, The University of Texas at Austin.

Hunter (stacy.d.hunter@gmail.com) is corresponding author.