Yoga comparable to walking for heart health
An international team of researchers say that doing yoga exercises on a regular basis can be as good for your heart health as walking or riding a bike.
In a review of 37 controlled trials involving more than 2,000 participants, researchers from the Harvard University School of Public Health and Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands focused on how yoga could be used to improve cardiovascular health.
The researchers examined how yoga affected risk factors such as body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL). The results showed that each of these risk factors improved more in those practicing yoga than in people not exercising and, in fact, that yoga's impact on cardiovascular risk factors was comparable to more conventional aerobic exercises.
The researchers said that it’s unclear if the health benefits are due to yoga’s impact on stress reduction, which could, in turn, affect metabolic function. Regardless, the results come as good news for people who cannot perform traditional cardiovascular exercises, or for people who prefer an alternative.