Hyderabad: Can yoga improve the combat skills of armed
forces and paramilitary personnel and increase their level of
alertness? Yoga experts have found that regular practice of yogic
exercises alleviates psychological stress, reduces cardiovascular
risks and thereby improves the combat skills of men in uniform,
particularly those working on the border.
A study conducted by the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied
Sciences, DRDO, on the jawans of Border Security Force (BSF) has
revealed that regular yoga practice resulted in significant increase
in back leg muscle strength, and decrease in systolic and mean blood
The research team from the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied
Sciences comprised Mantu Saha, Abhirup Chatterjee, Rameswar Pal,
Kaushik Halder, Omveer Singh Tomer and Anjana Pathak. It found that
BSF jawans, who had participated in yoga, showed more physical
flexibility, muscle endurance, maximal work output and
oxygen consumption, besides increased vitality. There was also
alleviated psychological stress and reduced cardiovascular risks.
“Several reports have been made with regard to yoga’s effects on
cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, hormonal and neural systems.
Our study therefore was aimed to evaluate the efficacy of different
combinations of yogic practices. We also found significant improvement
in cognitive functions, simple and choice reaction time and working
memory,” the researchers said.
The research team designated yoga packages for different forces. The
study on BSF personnel showed significant increase in back leg muscle
strength and maximum voluntary ventilation. Systolic and Mean blood
pressure was significantly decreased as expected. Anaerobic capacity
and breath hold time also observed significant increase after yogic
training and breathing maneuvers.
The jawans showed improvement in peak power of short-term exercise
revealing improvement in anaerobic capacity. The team also conducted a
study with a yoga package for high altitude. As many as 3300 armed
forces personnel participated in the study. They showed enhanced
physical and physiological profile along with better subjective
“The yoga package for Air Force personnel was found to be effective in
terms of improvement of physical and physiological functioning,” they
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