Regular Yoga Linked To Lower Heart Disease Risk
Regular aerobic exercise (such as walking, swimming, and cycling) has a number of proven health benefits, including protection against heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Now, findings from a recent study suggest that adding yoga to the mix could also help lower cardiovascular risk. Researchers at Laval University in Quebec divided 60 volunteers with high blood pressure into two groups: One performed 30 minutes of aerobic activity plus 15 minutes of yoga five times a week; the other performed 30 minutes of aerobic activity plus 15 minutes of stretching five times a week.
After three months, the researchers found that both groups experienced reductions in their systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate. However, the participants who added yoga to their exercise regimen saw their systolic blood pressure (the top number) decrease by 10 mmHg, compared to a decrease of only 4 mmHg in the stretching group. People who practiced yoga also reduced their 10-year cardiovascular risk. “Our study shows that structured yoga practices can be a healthier addition to aerobic exercise than simply muscle stretching,” says the study’s lead author.
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