Tags: Heart Disease | yoga | cardiovascular disease | risk | reduction | exercise

Yoga Protects Against Heart Disease: Study

Tuesday, 16 December 2014 02:15 PM


Yoga, a discipline involving physical and mental exercises, improves the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, and may provide the same risk reduction seen in traditional physical activities such as biking or brisk walking, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

"This finding is significant as individuals who cannot or prefer not to perform traditional aerobic exercise might still achieve similar benefits in risk reduction," the researchers wrote.

The researchers reviewed 37 randomized,  controlled trials which included 2,768 people.

Previous studies had found that yoga, which incorporates physical, mental, and spiritual elements, was effective in improving cardiovascular risk factors and lowering the risk of heart attacks and stroke. The new study sought to show the degree of yoga's effectiveness in practitioners when measured against traditional forms of exercise and no exercise.

The results showed that when compared to those who didn't exercise, risk factors improved in those doing yoga. In addition, the study found that yoga's effects on cardiovascular health were comparable to traditional exercise.

When compared to no exercise, yoga significantly lowered body mass index and body weight, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and also lowered LDL (bad) cholesterol, while raising HDL (good) cholesterol.

Risk factors improved even more when yoga was used in addition to medication.

Although researchers aren't sure exactly what provides the heart-healthy benefits, researchers theorize it could be the result of stress reduction, "leading to positive impacts on neuroendocrine status, metabolic and cardio-vagal function," they wrote.

Senior author Myriam Hunink said the costs and benefits of yoga as compared to other forms of exercise and also to medication are still unclear. "However," she said, "these results indicate that yoga is potentially very useful and in my view worth pursuing as a risk improvement practice."

In addition, yoga is low in cost and available to patients who have a low physical tolerance, such as those with pre-existing heart problems, seniors, or people with muscle and joint pain.

The researchers concluded that "yoga has the potential to be a cost-effective treatment and prevention strategy given its low cost, lack of expensive equipment or technology, potential greater adherence and health-related quality of life improvements, and possible accessibility to larger segments of the population."

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Yoga, a discipline involving physical and mental exercises, improves the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, and may provide the same risk reduction seen in traditional physical activities such as biking or brisk walking, according to a study published in...
yoga, cardiovascular disease, risk, reduction, exercise
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2014-15-16
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 02:15 PM
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