It has been established by a body of research that the ancient practice of yoga can help protect the heart. However, it can’t be as good as cardio, right? Well, as it turns out, the effects of yoga and cardiovascular exercise are quite similar, according to a new review by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
For their review, researchers looked at 37 different studies encompassing nearly 3,000 individuals in total. Their aim was, knowing some of the heart-healthy benefits of yoga (which include lowering blood pressure and getting the heart pumping in a similar way to cardio, depending on the position), to see how yoga compared to aerobic exercise.
First of all, the researchers tested how yoga compared to no exercise at all, and not surprisingly, the results were favorable: yoga was shown to lower certain risk factors of cardiovascular disease. What was more surprising was that yoga’s effect on heart disease risk was “comparable” to that of cardio.
On the similarities between yoga and exercise, the study authors wrote, “there could be comparable working mechanisms, with some possible physiological aerobic benefits occurring with yoga practice, and some stress-reducing, relaxation effect occurring with aerobic exercise.”
The study authors also noted that, “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.” While no one is suggesting ditching your running shoes for a yoga mat, adding yoga to your healthy lifestyle could amplify your heart health significantly.
Other researched benefits of yoga include the potential to gain flexibility, balance, strength, and better joint function, reduce muscle pain, improve the quality of your sleep and digestive system, and reduce your stress levels significantly. Have you tried this amazing activity yet?
If not, it may be time to find a class near you!
-The Alternative Daily