An analysis of a recent National Health Interview Survey, comprised of 26,742 adults across the United States, published by Fitrated.com, demonstrates a detailed comparison of the well being of Americans that regularly practice yoga and meditation, and Americans that do not.
By and large, these techniques offer considerable risk decreases for several serious physical ailments, the effects on mental health, however, is a bit less consistent.
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Fourteen percent of the participants observed in the annual study said that they regularly practiced yoga and about 6% said that they habitually meditated. Women accounted for the majority of the reported yoga and meditation practitioners (18.5%, 6.8%, respectively). Millennials tended to be frequent engagers as well, with Gen Xers following just ahead of Baby Boomers.
The impact on physical health
The majority of Americans don’t feel as though their lives are improving. Only one in five respondents believed their life was better at the time of the survey compared to the year prior. However, these statistics were much more encouraging amongst individuals that regularly practiced yoga and meditation. Nearly a third of these participants reported that they found their life and health to be better than it was the previous year.
“Moreover, yoga and a combination of yoga and meditation seemed to correlate with improved BMI scores relative to those who engaged in neither practice. Those who practiced yoga (with or without meditation) had average BMIs in the “overweight” range, whereas people who did not typically belonged to the “obese” category,” added the authors of the study.
Twenty-nine percent of the respondents that never employed yoga, developed hypertension. Cancer and heart problems were also half as prevalent in yoga practitioners.
“Nearly 1 in 10 people who practiced meditation alone reported one or more of these mental health issues.”
The impact, meditation, and yoga have on mental health and employee absenteeism is much less consistent. For example, the study’s findings suggest people that regularly practice yoga were actually substantially more likely to battle depression, anxiety, or some other emotional problem.
According to the authors, “Nearly 1 in 10 people who practiced meditation alone reported one or more of these mental health issues.” Similarly, there wasn’t any substantial difference in the amount of sleep received between those that practiced yoga and meditations, and those that practiced neither.
In terms of days missed, the degree varies by industry, Professionals in the healthcare field, missed about three days a year, compared to the eight days annually missed for other workers in that field.
However, meditators in finance and insurance and public administration missed way more days of work than abstainers in the same field.
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