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Pranayama scores over a jog

Courtesy: Balasubramanian

Pranayama scores over a jog
Improves cardio-vascular efficiency: Study

Hyderabad, Sept. 18: Jogging along Tank Bund does help, but doing pranayama for thirty minutes every day in the serenity of your home is far more beneficial for your heart and lungs. Now, there is scientific proof for it.

A joint study by yoga experts from the city-based Vemana Yoga Research Institute and scientists from National Institute of Nutrition reported that those practising pranayama exhibited better fitness results.

Also, the cardio-vascular and cardio-respiratory efficiency improved substantially for yoga practitioners as compared to joggers or walkers.

Pranayama is a basic yogic breathing technique, of which one of the methods is nadisodhana, where breathing is performed through alternate nostrils while sitting in a meditative posture.

The results of the research, conducted by K V V Prasad, P S Raju, M Venkata Reddy and K J R Murthy of the Vemana Research Institute and Y Venkata Ramana of the National Institute Of Nutrition, was published in the Journal of Exercise Physiology.

The study was conducted on 30 people and identified the use of energy while doing pranayama compared to standard physical activities like treadmill-walking, or field-walking or a graded physical exercise.

It was observed that while energy output in pranayama was very high, the energy consumption was minuscule. Jogging resulted in exactly opposite results.

The heart rate and oxygen consumption during the yogic exercise were significantly lower than during jogging, indicating that energy cost for pranayam was lower.

Comparatively, while the energy cost on the body during treadmill-walking was 3.59 kilocalories per minute, it was 2.80 KCal/min for field walking and 2.23 KCal/minute for Pranayama. The heart rates during these three forms of exercise was 80.2, 74.8 and 66.9 beats per minute respectively. The study indicated that in pranayama subjects, the body was using oxygen “more efficiently (aerobically) rather than shifting to less-efficient anaerobic metabolism.”

The oxygen pulse rate was 8.98 ml/beat for treadmill walking, 7.39 for field-walking and 6.66 for pranayama. The subjects also reported low fatigue as against other forms of exercise.

Besides improving physiological functions and physical endurance, the exercise also lowers the lactate level in blood and is beneficial for those suffering from diabetes, asthma and hyper-tension.

Previously, studies on nadisodhana have shown an improvement in various cardio-respiratory functions among normal volunteers and also in controlling diseases like diabetes. A few studies have reported increased oxygen consumption during different types of pranayama by direct measurement.

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