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Yoga decreased systolic blood pressure reduced 10-year cardiovascular risk: Study

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Yoga is more beneficial than stretching exercises for improving cardiovascular health and wellness, according to a three-month pilot study of hypertension individuals published by Elsevier in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology. Yoga decreased systolic blood pressure and resting heart rate, which reduced 10-year cardiovascular risk.

For millions of individuals throughout the world, yoga is a component of their spiritual and physical routines. Yoga research is expanding as yoga practice spreads as a popular form of physical activity. It is a flexible form of exercise that can benefit cardiovascular health and general well-being. Stretching exercises and the physical aspects of yoga practises share many commonalities but also have significant variances.

"The aim of this pilot study was to determine whether the addition of yoga to a regular exercise training regimen reduces cardiovascular risk," explained lead investigator Paul Poirier, MD, PhD, Quebec Heart and Lung Institute - Laval University, and Faculty of Pharmacy, Laval University, Quebec, Canada.

Investigators recruited 60 individuals with previously diagnosed high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome for an exercise training program. Over the 3-month intervention regimen, participants were divided into 2 groups, which performed 15 minutes of either structured yoga or stretching in addition to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise training 5 times weekly.

Blood pressure, anthropometry, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), glucose and lipids levels as well as the Framingham and Reynolds Risk Scores were measured. At baseline, there was no difference between groups in age, sex, smoking rates, body mass index (BMI), resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure, resting heart rate, and pulse pressure.

After 3 months, there was a decrease in resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate in both groups. "This 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," noted Dr Poirier.

"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


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