It may be a 5,000-year-old Indian tradition, but we’re learning new things about it all the time.
I’m talking about yoga. And no, not stand-on-your-head, twist-into-a-pretzel kind of yoga, either.
The kind of yoga that provides “the perfect gentle solution for cardiovascular health,” according to Dr. Delia Chiaramonte, assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. And that’s especially true for those who are unable to take part in regular forms of exercise.
Yoga as “efficient as aerobics” for heart health
In fact, Dr. Chiaramonte considers it “as efficient as walking, running or aerobics in improving heart fitness.”
And here’s one of the big reasons yoga seems to be so good for heart health: it’s all about the breathing.
“Heart disease patients consistently use shallow, chest breathing instead of the deep diaphragmatic breathing we teach in yoga,” noted Bonnie Tarantino, director of yoga programs at the Center for Integrative Medicine. This type of deep breathing serves to massage the heart, she noted, both pumping fluid and nutrients into the vascular system and helping to get rid of toxic waste at the same time.
Significantly improves cholesterol and blood pressure
For example, a study recently published in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, showed that those who had practiced yoga for only six months had increased their levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol while reducing harmful triglycerides and so-called bad LDL cholesterol.
In another study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, yoga was able to slash the risk of heart disease for even the highest risk patients. Other research has shown yoga can help lower high blood pressure.
And don’t say you’re too old to give it a try. At 98, New York yoga instructor Tao Porchon-Lynch is still doing poses and teaching her students.
Actually, yoga is something you can do for as long as you live –which can turn out to be a whole lot longer if you take it up!
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
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