Yoga May Guard Against Heart Disease

A review in the Netherlands of 37 studies involving nearly 3,000 people found yoga was independently linked to a lowering of heart risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Yoga does not count towards the recommended physical activity that we should all do each week.

Prof Myriam Hunink, from Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, set out to investigate what effect, if any, yoga might have on heart health.

Compared with no exercise, yoga had significant benefits - it was linked to a lower risk of obesity, high blood pressure and raised cholesterol, the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology reports.

When pitched against other types of exercise, such as brisk walking or jogging, yoga was no better or worse based on the same measures of heart risk.

Prof Hunink said: "These results indicate that yoga is potentially very useful and in my view worth pursuing as a risk improvement practice."

It is not clear why yoga might be beneficial, but experts say it could be down to its calming effect. Stress has been linked to heart disease and high blood pressure.

Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "The benefits could be due to working the muscles and breathing, which can bring more oxygen into the body, leading to lower blood pressure.

"A larger study is recommended though to assess the effects of yoga more fully."

She said the benefits of yoga on emotional health were well-established.

The full article can be found at:
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-30475999

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