Yoga combined with regular exercise may protect heart, lower blood pressure

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In a study from Laval University, scientists found that adding yoga to a regular exercise training regimen supports heart health and well-being and is more effective than stretching exercises.

They found the incorporation of yoga reduced systolic blood pressure and resting heart rate and improved 10-year heart disease risk.

Yoga is part of spiritual and exercise practices for millions of people worldwide. It is a multifaceted lifestyle activity that can positively enhance heart health and well-being.

Physical exercises such as stretching exercises and the physical components of yoga practices have several similarities, but also important differences.

In the study, the team examined 60 individuals with high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome in an exercise training program.

Over the 3-month intervention regimen, participants were divided into 2 groups, which performed 15 minutes of either structured yoga or stretching in addition to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise training 5 times weekly.

After 3 months, the team found there was a decrease in resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate in both groups.

However, systolic blood pressure was reduced by 10 mmHg with yoga vs 4 mmHg with stretching. The yoga approach also reduced resting heart rate and 10-year heart risk.

While yoga has been shown to benefit hypertensive patients, the exact mechanism underlying this positive effect is not fully understood.

This study shows that its benefits cannot be simply attributed to stretching alone.

The team says this study provides evidence for an additional non-pharmacologic therapy option for heart disease risk reduction and blood pressure control in patients with high blood pressure, in the setting of a primary prevention exercise program.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and calcium supplements could harm your heart health.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that certain plant-based foods could benefit people with high blood pressure, and results showing probiotics could help reduce high blood pressure and blood sugar.

The study was conducted by Paul Poirier et al and published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

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