Put the brakes on that bicycle and roll out a yoga mat – turns out that yoga can be as good for the health of your ticker as cycling, new research suggests.
Researchers found that yoga improves health and can even lower blood pressure and cholesterol – both essential to your heart health, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
The researchers looked at data from 37 studies, involving more than 2,700 people, of the health benefits of yoga and found evidence that practicing yoga clearly led to improved health. As well as benefits such as weight loss, lowering bad cholesterol and cutting blood pressure, the health improvements were on a par with those seen in people who did conventional exercise such as cycling.
As part of a study, both men and women who were prescribed yoga were seen to have lost 5lb more compared to those who did no extra exercise. For those who practiced yoga regularly for an average of three months, a decrease in blood pressure was seen along with a drop in harmful levels of cholesterol.
The improvement in heart health as a result of practicing yoga was as beneficial as conventional physical activity, according to the researchers. In a trial involving those at risk of heart problems, blood pressure dropped almost three times as much when doing yoga compared to taking medications.
Heart disease is often used interchangeably with the term “cardiovascular disease.” Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Other heart conditions, such as those that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm, also are considered forms of heart disease.
Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices, including physical activity such as cycling and yoga.