Experts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology developed a virtual eight-week moderate-intensity yoga program for working adults experiencing symptoms of stress.
The researchers were curious about the potential cognitive benefits of learning new yoga sequences, like those seen when mastering a dance form.
The study’s findings that exercise improves executive functioning are supported by the literature, the authors write.
The study’s secondary objective was to examine participants’ commitment to an online workout routine. While remote experimentation was the original intent, the study’s timing with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic yielded unexpected benefits.
The Journal of Behavioral Medicine study measured participants’ stress, anxiety, and executive functioning after they completed three weeks of remote, self-paced exercise. Reduced levels of stress and anxiety were the overall findings.
“Remote moderate intensity yoga practice proved safe, enjoyable, and may reduce stress and improve cognitive functioning,” the researchers concluded.