American Council on Exercise (ACE) First to Evaluate Benefits of Yoga

Exclusive ACE Study Examines Aerobic Potential of Popular 5,000 -Year-Old


Oct 03, 2005, 01:00 ET from American Council on Exercise

    SAN DIEGO, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Today more than 11 million Americans
 pack fitness studios around the country seeking the mind-body benefits of
 yoga, including increased flexibility, strength, balance and muscle tone.  But
 is yoga also a good calorie-burning workout?  In an exclusive study, the
 American Council on Exercise (ACE), America's nonprofit fitness advocate,
 examined the aerobic benefits and calorie expenditure of Hatha yoga, the most
 beginner-friendly and widespread practice.
     Lead researchers Dawn Boehde and John Porcari, Ph.D., FACSM, from the
 University of Wisconsin-La Crosse recruited 34 healthy but sedentary women
 (average age of 33) for the study.  Before beginning the study, participants
 were given the same series of tests evaluating their flexibility, balance,
 aerobic fitness level and muscular strength and endurance.
     The subjects were divided into two groups: a yoga group and a non-yoga
 control group.  The yoga group participated in 55-minute Hatha yoga classes
 three times a week during the eight-week study period while the non-yoga group
 was barred from any form of exercise.
     The study concluded that while the yoga group showed numerous improvements
 in strength and endurance as well as improved balance and flexibility, they
 did not burn a significant amount of calories.  In fact, one 50-minute session
 of Hatha yoga burns just 144 calories, similar to a slow walk.
     "Yoga is designed to relax the body and help improve musculoskeletal
 fitness.  If you attempt to incorporate calorie-burning elements in a yoga
 session you may compromise the essential purpose and beneficial effects of the
 practice," said Dr. Cedric X. Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for ACE.
 "While the ACE study shows that a Hatha yoga session burns a relatively small
 amount of calories, yoga is still a valuable addition to any exercise routine
 offering the essential elements of flexibility, balance and relaxation;
 factors often neglected in traditional workouts."
      Yoga group participants did show the following improvements:
      * Yoga participants' total body flexibility improved by 13 percent, with
        significant results in shoulder and trunk flexibility
      * Muscular fitness also improved in the yoga group enabling them to do an
        average of six more push-ups and 14 more curl-ups
      * Yoga participants experienced a 17-second increase in their one-legged
        stand time
     Complete study results appear in the September/October 2005 edition of ACE
 Fitness Matters magazine or on our Web site at
     About ACE
     The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America's Authority on Fitness, is
 a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical
 activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness
 products and instruction.  As the nation's "workout watchdog," ACE sponsors
 university-based exercise science research and testing that targets fitness
 products and trends.  ACE sets standards for fitness professionals and is the
 world's largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization.  For more
 information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE
 Web site at
 Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click
 appropriate link.
 Dr. Cedric X. Bryant

SOURCE American Council on Exercise