New research (1) by Les Mills clearly shows that regular sessions of ‘new-generation yoga’ can help banish the lockdown blues, increase sleep quality and boost mental health.
‘New generation’ yoga blends elements of yoga with Tai Chi and Pilates with mindfulness in a workout format with BODYBALANCE™ by Les Mills, one of the world’s most popular classes. Its research into how blended yoga sessions can improve health and wellbeing, delivers key insights into how the power of new-generation yoga can act as an antidote to the stress of modern living. It is very timely given the current turbulent times in which we are all living.
Les Mills measured the Heart Rate Variability of participants to show the effect of the workout on people’s health.
HRV is the measurement of interval variation between each beat of the heart. It is the small differences in the length of these intervals that are a sign of a healthy cardiovascular system and that a person is in an optimal state of recovery. The higher the HRV, the more likely we are to be better equipped to cope with the pressures of daily life. Conversely, studies* show that low HRV correlates with anxiety and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Central to the results was a statistically significant increase in HRV, an accurate measure of the body’s ability to regulate vital health factors such as anxiety and sleep. This increased HRV among people who regularly enjoy new-generation yoga sheds new light on these classes. The study also found that participants who incorporate regular 30-40-minute BODYBALANCE sessions of this specialist stretching and meditation into their daily life, experienced significantly improved sleep and cardiovascular health, enhanced recovery from mental and physical stress and boosted positive feelings. After just six sessions people reported:
- 15% improved sleep quality
- 39% increase in positive feelings relating to confidence
- 39% decrease in feelings of sadness and negativity
- 29% increase in motivation
- 26% decrease in negative emotions; anxiety and tension
- 18% increase in satisfaction with daily life
The Les Mills BODYBALANCE and Heart Rate Variability Study measured a range of responses. The research team collected heart rate variability and survey data related to life satisfaction and sleep quality for this research. It was interesting to find that compared to many studies and research articles that investigate sleep and sleep awareness with passive approaches as solutions, this research study shows that an active approach is beneficial and positive for participants too.
The Study was presented by Associate Professor Jinger Gottschall, at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Conference in 2020. “The study findings show BODYBALANCE is a useful active recovery solution for improving physical and mental health, with participants reporting feeling more positive, confident and motivated” says Dr Gottschall. “You don’t need to be a particular level of fitness to start BODYBALANCE,” says Dr Gottschall. “Simply by doing new-generation yoga on a regular basis, you can start enjoying the same benefits the study participants gained.”
As Bryce Hastings, Head of Research at Les Mills points out; “We need to understand that we need recovery from our lifestyle, not just exercise. This study demonstrates that we can enhance recovery from everyday stress and exhaustion through simple and targeted movement and mindfulness training in the form of BODYBALANCE.”
He continued; “The increased popularity of “recovery” is often misdirected; it assumes that only athletes and high-performance individuals need recovery. Thanks to the collective trauma our population has experienced in 2020, we are starting to understand that increasing positive emotional, mental and physiological transformation can occur with small but consistent changes that are accessible to anyone. We’re pleased to show that our evidence-backed workouts offer this.”
BODYBALANCE™ classes can be accessed at most gym-operators across the country and via Les Mills’ on demand subscription platform, LMOD (14-day free trial, then £11.95 per month).