YOGA TRAINING AND MOTOR SPEED BASED ON A FINGER TAPPING TASK Manoj Dash and Shirley Telles Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, 9, Appajappa Agrahara, 1st Main, Chamarajpet, Bangalore - 560 018 (Received on June 3, 1999)
Abstract: A finger tapping task was used to assess motor speed (MS) of both hands in 53 adults and, 152 children before and after yoga training and in 38 adults of a non-yoga (control) group. All subjects were right hand dominant. The 30 second tapping speed (TS) test was considered as three time intervals, i.e. 0-10 second (TSI), 10-20 seconds (TS2) and 20- 30 seconds (TS3). There was a significant (Student's t-test) increase in all three TS values following 10 days of yoga in children and 30 days of yoga in adults. However for both groups at baseline and final assessments, TS2 and TS3 were significantly lower than TS1. Hence the TS was increased after yoga training during the first 10 seconds of the test but not during the next 20 seconds. These results suggest an increase in motor speed for repetitive finger movements following yoga training, but not in strength or endurance, as the increase was not sustained over 30 sec. Key words: optical illusion; defocusing; Focusing; yoga. INTRODUCTION The frequency of successive, rapid alternating movements has been a standard measure to clinically evaluate one aspect of motor function, viz. motor speed (1) Finger tapping is one such example, where the number of taps in a given time is an index of the speed of motor activity. Motor speed has been shown to increase with age in childhood (2) while the reverse is true in adulthood, and males perform better than females (3) Speed of manual motor activity quite obviously varies with handedness, the dominant hand having a faster rate (4). A comparison of right versus left hand motor speed is referred to as motor speed asymmetry (5) Unilateral motor speed appears to be more lateralized than various cognitive abilities, and there is believed to be a close association between right or left hand tapping speed and the activity of the left or right hemisphere respectively. The present study aimed at assessing the effects of yoga training on finger tapping speed, with subjects categorized according to age and gender.