Adding This Simple Activity To Regular Exercises Is More Effective Than Simply Muscle Stretching
This new study “provides evidence for an additional non-pharmacologic therapy option for cardiovascular risk reduction and blood pressure control in patients with high blood pressure, in the setting of a primary prevention exercise program.”
A three-month pilot study of hypertension patients shows that integrating yoga into a regular fitness training program enhances cardiovascular health and wellness and is more effective than stretching activities. The research was published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology. Yoga lowered 10-year cardiovascular risk by lowering systolic blood pressure and resting heart rate.
Yoga is a spiritual and physical activity practiced by millions of people throughout the world.
Yoga study is expanding as it becomes a more commonly acknowledged form of exercise.
It is a flexible kind of exercise that may benefit cardiovascular health and general well-being.
There are some key differences between the physical parts of yoga and the stretching exercises that most people are familiar with.
The goal of this pilot study was to find out if adding yoga to regular exercise training lowers cardiovascular risk, according to lead investigator Paul Poirier.
There is a wide range of yoga practices, components, frequency, session length, duration, and intensity, but some research suggests they provide similar or even better cardiovascular effects than exercise.
“We sought to apply a rigorous scientific approach to identify cardiovascular risk factors for which yoga is beneficial for at-risk patients and ways it could be applied in a healthcare setting such as a primary prevention program,” adds the author.
Sixty people with high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome were included in the study’s exercise training program.
Participants were split into two groups for the duration of the three-month intervention program, and each group engaged in 15 minutes of structured yoga or stretching in addition to five sessions of 30 minutes of aerobic activity.
The Framingham and Reynolds Risk Scores, anthropometry, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), glucose, and cholesterol levels, as well as blood pressure, were all assessed.
Age, sex, smoking rates, body mass index (BMI), resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure, resting heart rate, and pulse pressure did not vary across groups at the beginning of the study.
Both groups’ resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial blood pressure, and heart rates decreased after 3 months.
Stretching only decreased systolic blood pressure by 4 mmHg, while yoga reduced it by 10 mmHg. Additionally, the yoga method decreased the 10-year cardiovascular risk score and resting heart rate.
Yoga has been shown to help people with high blood pressure, but the exact way it does this is not fully understood. The results of this small, randomized trial suggest that the effects cannot be simply attributed to stretching alone.
“This study provides evidence for an additional non-pharmacologic therapy option for cardiovascular risk reduction and blood pressure control,” points out Dr. Poirier, “in patients with high blood pressure, in the setting of a primary prevention exercise program.”
“As observed in several studies, we recommend that patients try to find exercise and stress relief for the management of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in whatever form they find most appealing. Our study shows that structured yoga practices can be a healthier addition to aerobic exercise than simply muscle stretching.”
Image Credit: Getty
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