DEC 15, 2022 9:00 AM PST

Yoga Improves Cardiovascular Health and Wellbeing

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

A new pilot study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology has shown that adding yoga to a regular exercise routine appears to improve cardiovascular health and wellbeing.

The study included 60 participants who had been diagnosed with hypertension. Participants were randomized into either a stretching group or a yoga group with similar characteristics at baseline. Both groups were assigned to participate in 30 minutes of aerobic exercise training for five days a week, and each group additionally participated in either 15 minutes of stretching or 15 minutes of yoga for five days a week. The intervention lasted three months, and cardiometabolic factors such as blood pressure, blood glucose, blood lipid levels, and cardiovascular risk scores were measured before and after the intervention.

At the end of the study, the group that had participated in yoga saw greater improvements in several cardiometabolic metrics, including resting blood pressure, resting heart rate, and Reynolds Risk Score. The authors of the study noted that these results point to an appealing non-pharmacologic option for controlling blood pressure and lowering cardiovascular risk in patients with hypertension.

Yoga was likely more effective than stretching alone because yoga incorporates breathing and meditation exercises that provide stress relief. Stress and mental health issues have been increasing in America, and the rises in both were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Stress and mental health problems are associated with heart disease, particularly increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, and decreased blood flow to the heart. Over time, these factors can lead to heart problems and even major cardiac events. By reducing stress, yoga may effectively combat these issues more than stretching alone.

Sources: CJC, Science Daily, CDC

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Savannah (she/her) is a scientific writer specializing in cardiology at Labroots. Her background is in medical writing with significant experience in obesity, oncology, and infectious diseases. She has conducted research in microbial biophysics, optics, and education. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
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