Yoga research study; improved heart health

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It’s common knowledge that any form of exercise is going to improve your health, but this week more evidence points to the practice of yoga for both the young and old. Scientists have already speculated that yoga twists and stretches can boost your immune system to help you fight illnesses such as pneumonia, colds and the flu.  It’s also an all-encompassing way to help increase your metbolic rate, learn more about this here.  In addition to all of this, new research is suggesting that yoga can also positively affect heart health.

The lead researcher, Paula Chu, a doctoral candidate at Harvard University’s Health Program in Boston says that in fact, the benefits were similar to those of conventional exercise such as brisk walking.

The 37 clinical trials found that yoga improves weight, blood pressure and cholesterol suggesting that even those “who are physically limited in some way do not have to ‘pound the pavement’ in order to improve their cardiovascular risk profile,” explained Chu.

“We believe there is promising evidence on the effect of yoga on improving cardiovascular risk factors, but given the limitations of the research, Chu said, we refrain from drawing any definitive conclusions.”

What complicates the research is how often people practice and the many different types of yoga there are to choose from, some being gentle stretches to others being more vigorous that require some strength and flexibility to accomplish.

But overall, Chu said, yoga was “well accepted” by all age groups and offered cardiovascular benefits regardless. The study found that on average, those who practiced yoga cut 5 points from their blood pressure and 12 points from their LDL (the bad cholesterol) in addition to losing 5 pounds.

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Credit: US News & World Report, Amy Norton, Health Day Reporter

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