Yoga: Should you finally try it? With the New Year, the question may have been on your mind. Those cute yoga outfits, and it looks easy enough; however, is there any real benefit besides improving your flexibility? Is it just a persisting exercise fad?
Well according to a review of recent studies that looked at the heart health benefits of yoga, it is definitely worth it. In fact, the benefits are quite significant. Yoga is an ancient Eastern practice that positively impacts cardiovascular risk factors. These factors include LDL cholesterol (your “bad” cholesterol that contributes to plaque in your arteries, leading to possible heart attack or stroke) and systolic blood pressure.
Asana-based yoga practitioners displayed significant health improvements compared to those who did not participate in any physical activity. The yogis reduced their bad cholesterol levels by 12.1 mg/dL. Systolic blood pressure was lowered by 5.2 mm Hg. HDL cholesterol levels (your “good” cholesterol) were increased by 3.2 mg/dL.
Additionally, the yogis received the bonus benefits of significantly reduced body-mass index, triglycerides (a type of fat), heart rate and diastolic blood pressure.
In this way, yoga is similar to physical activities like brisk walking or cycling when talking about cardiovascular improvements. What this means is that individuals who cannot perform or don’t enjoy aerobic activity can still reap their cardiovascular disease-minimizing benefits through yoga.
The studies varied from three to 52 weeks. Around a third of the studies were compared to no intervention. Twenty-one percent were compared to aerobic exercise. To learn more about the review that was originally released in mid-December in the “European Journal of Preventative Cardiology,” click here.
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