Combating studies that suggest yoga isn’t strenuous enough to provide significant health benefits, a new look at asana practice comes up a little more positively.
Here’s Reuters’ take:
Based on 37 clinical trials, researchers found that doing yoga lowered blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate and other cardiovascular risk factors in increments comparable to those seen with aerobic exercise.
“Taken together, these improvements could facilitate and complement a regimen toward better cardiovascular health,” said Paula Chu, a doctoral candidate in health policy at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.
She and her co-authors caution in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, however, that larger studies are needed to understand how yoga improves health, how much of it is ideal and if there are differences in benefits from various types of yoga before the practice becomes a standard prescription for heart disease.
The study team analyzed 37 randomized, controlled trials involving 2,768 people through December 2013. The trials either looked at yoga compared to no exercise or to aerobic exercises. Participants’ average age was 50 and they were followed for anywhere from 12 weeks to one year.
Those who did yoga had significant improvements in a range of risk factors. Systolic blood pressure (the top number) dropped by an average of 5.21 mm Hg, and diastolic pressure (the bottom number) dropped 4.9 mm HG. LDL “bad” cholesterol fell by an average 12.14 mg/dl and HDL “good” cholesterol rose by an average 3.20 mg/dl. Average heart rate was lower by a little over 5 beats per minute and weight loss averaged a bit over 5 pounds.
I’ve definitely benefited from lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, as just one tiny randomized sample.
Posted by Steve