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Physiological and psychological responses to a 12-week BodyBalance training programme

      Summary

      BodyBalance is a popular mind–body program practised at numerous leisure centres throughout the western world that makes many unsubstantiated claims as to the benefits of participation. This study examines physiological and psychological responses in adults, aged (mean ± S.D.) 43.9 ± 10.9 years, to a 12-week ‘BodyBalance’ exercise program. An exercise intervention group (n = 17) undertook three 1-h classes, each week for 12 consecutive weeks while the control group (n = 17) attended three 90-min ‘health lectures’. ANCOVA demonstrated significant differences between the control and exercise groups in body mass, skinfold measures, total girth circumference from six sites, maximal isometric back strength, five measures of flexibility and state anxiety. Post-hoc tests on the experimental group data showed body fat decreased significantly by 1.10 ± 1.02% (t = 4.44; P < 0.01), girth by 4.40 ± 5.80 cm (t = 3.13; P < 0.01) and back strength increased by 17.12 ± 15.39 kgf (t = −4.59; P < 0.01). Flexibility was also significantly enhanced with performance of the modified sit-and-reach test increasing by 5.90 ± 2.56 cm (t = −9.50; P < 0.01), hip flexion by 9.84 ± 8.41° (t = −4.82; P < 0.01), hip extension by 7.65 ± 4.48° (t = −7.04; P < 0.01), hip abduction by 10.00 ± 4.91° (t = −8.40; P < 0.01) and lateral trunk flexion by 3.06 ± 5.72° (t = −2.21; P < 0.05). Finally, state-anxiety (STAI) was significantly reduced intra-class at weeks 1, 6 and 12 by 9.24 ± 9.46 (t = 4.02; P < 0.01), 6.59 ± 6.26 (t = 4.34; P < 0.01) and 7.18 ± 5.50 (t = 5.38; P < 0.01), respectively. The findings of this study suggest mind–body exercise programs like BodyBalance could significantly benefit state-anxiety as well as strength, flexibility, and anthropometry around the trunk.

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