Yoga as Good as Aerobics for Cutting Heart Disease Risk
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, December 31, 2014 03:40 PM

Yoga is just as good as aerobics, cycling and walking for cutting the risk of heart disease. Scientists have found it can be just as effective as more strenuous exercise. Not only does it boost suppleness, Yoga can cut stress and increase fitness levels.

"This finding is significant as individuals who cannot or prefer not to perform traditional aerobic exercise might still achieve similar benefits in cardiovascular risk reduction,” the article notes.   

“These results indicate that yoga is potentially very useful and in my view worth pursuing as a risk improvement practice. Yoga has the potential to be a cost-effective treatment and prevention strategy given its low cost and lack of expensive equipment or technology.”

The authors reviewed 37 trials which included 2768 people and measured the benefits of yoga compared with exercise and no physical activity. When compared to no exercise, yoga was found to reduce BMI (Body Mass Index), lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. On average, subjects were 2.75kg lighter than those who did no exercise. And they found that for patients with existing heart disease the benefits were even greater when coupled with statins.

In comparison with exercise itself, yoga was also found to be as beneficial as aerobic exercise. The investigators believe that it might be because it reduces stress. The researchers believe that yoga could be particularly useful for people with existing heart conditions who cannot do strenuous exercise, such as those with arthritis or the elderly.

Increasingly yoga has been proven to be beneficial for a number of conditions and is now recommended by the NHS for pregnant women and cancer patients. An earlier study found that regular sessions of the exercise can help fight off depression as it boosts levels of a chemical in the brain which is essential for a sound and relaxed mind.

Scientists from the Boston University School of Medicine found that the levels of the amino acid GABA are much higher in those that carry out yoga than those do the equivalent of a similarly strenuous exercise such as walking. Last year the University of Illinois found that twenty minutes of yoga is better for boosting brain activity than vigorous exercise for the same amount of time.

Researchers discovered that a single, short session of the yoga significantly improves memory, speed and focus, more so than regular workouts. And team from the University of York have found that specialist yoga classes could slash the number of days taken off work for back pain.