New research by Les Mills shows that regular sessions of new-generation yoga classes can help banish the lockdown blues, increase sleep quality and boost mental health.
This timely research delivers key insights into one of the most popular programmes in the world, demonstrating the power of new-generation yoga when recovering from life during such a turbulent year.
A study found that just six sessions can increase participants’ Heart Rate Variability (HRV) enough to gain the following key benefits:
- 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
HRV is the measurement of interval variation between each beat of the heart. It is the tiny difference 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.
BODYBALANCE™ by Les Mills is a new-generation yoga practice which blends elements of yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates with mindfulness, in a workout format. It is one of the world’s most popular yoga programmes, with over 10,000 fitness clubs across the globe running the specialist class weekly.
The study found that participants who incorporate regular 30-40-minute 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.
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.
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.
As Bryce Hastings, Head of Research at Les Mills points out; “We need to understand that we need recovery from life, 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.”
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.
As Professor Jinger Gottschall qualifies; “You don’t need to be a particular level of fitness to start BODYBALANCE and by doing it on a regular basis, you can start enjoying the same benefits the study participants gained.”
Furthermore, many studies and research articles investigate sleep and sleep awareness with passive approaches as solutions. This research study shows that an active approach is beneficial and positive to participants too.
It’s time to combat the collective exhaustion, tension and sleeplessness we face as a nation. 2020 is the year of discovery and action – so take control and try BODYBALANCE™ classes to see how it can positively affect your life. 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).
For more information, visit lesmills.com/research