Purpose: The purposes of this 6-month pilot study were to investigate whether a mind-body exercise program was an effective tool to increase PA levels and whether the delivery method of the program, either instructor-based or self-guided, influenced the level of change among community-dwelling overweight sedentary adults.
Methods: The yoga program used in this study consisted of 2-months of an intervention period in which participants practiced 90-minute weekly sessions of Hatha yoga either directly by guidance from an instructor [Face Group] or indirectly by self-learning from a DVD [DVD Group], followed by 4-months of self-reported PA maintenance. Participants were screened for age, family history of diabetes, and medical and/or physical conditions that would prevent them from exercise in order to ensure safety of the intervention. Measurements were recorded at baseline, 2, 4, and 6 months. Program adherence was measured by self-reported minutes/week of PA; sedentary behaviors/levels of PA were monitored by the Modifiable Activity Questionnaire. Descriptive statistics and nonparametric tests were used to describe the sample and examine differences by group and time.
Results: Fourteen adults (10 White, 4 Non-white) participated in the study. Their mean age was 58.6 years (SD = 5.4) and 12 (85.7 %) was female. Their mean years of completed education was 15.0 (SD = 2.1) and the mean BMI was 31.8 ± 5.8 kg/m2. There was no significant differences in demographic variables between groups. Results showed significant changes in PA levels from baseline to each measurement point (p < .05). Although both groups in this pilot study showed increased PA, the DVD Group showed higher levels of PA at each interval than the Face Group (statistical significance occurring at 4 months). The participants of this study also reported yoga increased their strength, flexibility, balance, and mind-body awareness.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that a yoga program, either instructor-based or self-guided, may be used as a transitional platform to increase regular PA among overweight sedentary adults. Further research with a larger sample is needed to evaluate the efficacy of this program, with a particular focus on the use of the self-guided method.