The Effect of Yoga on Health-Related Fitness among Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Apr 1;19(7):4199. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19074199.


Background: There is a need for a type of physical activity that could address the challenging cycle of physical inactivity, impaired health-related fitness, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) conditions. Yoga could be one type of exercise to overcome the barriers to adhere to regular physical activity. The current study aimed to systematically review the effect of yoga on health-related fitness, including cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, body composition, balance, and flexibility, among patients with T2DM.

Methods: We systematically searched four databases and two registries (Pubmed, Scopus, Cochrane, Embase, WHO-ITCRP, and in September 2021, following a registered protocol on PROSPERO (CRD42022276225). Study inclusion criteria were T2DM patients with or without complication, yoga intervention as a single component or as a complement compared to other kinds of exercise or an inactive control, health-related fitness, and a randomized, controlled trial or quasi-experimental with control group design. The ROBINS-I tool and ROB 2.0 tool were used to assess the risk of bias in the included studies. A vote-counting analysis and meta-analysis computed using random effects' models were conducted.

Results: A total of 10 records from 3 quasi-experimental and 7 randomized, controlled trials with 815 participants in total were included. The meta-analysis favored yoga groups compared to inactive controls in improving muscle strength by 3.42 (95% confidence interval 2.42 to 4.43), repetitions of chair stand test, and improving cardiorespiratory fitness by 6.6% (95% confidence interval 0.4 to 12.8) improvement of baseline forced vital capacity. The quality of evidence for both outcomes was low.

Conclusion: Low-quality evidence favored yoga in improving health-related fitness, particularly muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness, among patients with T2DM.

Funding: All authors in this systematic review received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Keywords: cardiorespiratory fitness; diabetes mellitus; exercise; muscle strength; physical fitness; yoga.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / therapy
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Physical Fitness
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Yoga*