The claim: Just two 90-minute yoga sessions a week for 3 months is enough to lower your inflammation levels by 20%. The same amount of yoga also reduces fatigue by 57%. And these benefits persist for months -- even if you stop going to yoga, according to a new Journal of Clinical Oncology study.
The research: A study team from Ohio State University measured markers of inflammation among 200 breast cancer survivors -- half of whom practiced hatha yoga on a twice-weekly basis. The researchers also collected psychological surveys designed to gauge the participants' energy and depression levels. Compared to the no-yoga group, the downward doggers enjoyed the lasting inflammation- and fatigue-lowering benefits detailed above. (Sculpt a sexy yoga body -- it only takes 15 minutes a day! -- with the Big Book of Yoga.)
What it means: The meditative component of yoga is a proven stress fighter, says lead study author Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD. And thanks to the uptick in physical activity, the yoga practicers also slept better at night. Both of those factors could explain the improved inflammation and energy levels, Dr. Kiecolt-Glaser explains. Also, because yoga helps you learn to manage stress through concentration and breathing, its positive effects last even if you stop practicing, she adds.
The bottom line: Anyone who takes up yoga should experience lower inflammation and fatigue levels, as well as better sleep, Dr. Kiecolt-Glaser says. And her study showed the more often you practice yoga, the better the results. (Prevent bad posture and pain with these beginner yoga moves.)
More from MSN Healthy Living:
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- Jillian Michaels' top get-fit tips
- 'Healthy' eating disorders: Which one do you have?
- Bing: Common causes of fatigue
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