Yoga matches aerobics in cutting heart disease risk

Group of people practising the yoga cobra position

The ancient practice of yoga is well-known for its health benefits, including improved strength, flexibility and stress relief, and now researchers say it could even help to protect your heart.

In a review of 37 trials involving more 2,500 people, scientists found that those who took regular yoga classes had lower BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol than those who didn't exercise, and were an average of 2.75kg lighter.

Furthermore, patients with existing heart disease experienced even greater benefits when yoga was coupled with statins. Overall, yoga was revealed to be as beneficial as aerobic exercise when it came to cutting the risk of heart disease.

Heart disease is currently the UK's biggest killer, claiming the lives of an estimated 82,000 Brits each year, and the researchers believe yoga could prove an important tool in the battle against heart-related illness, particularly since it provides health benefits to those who might otherwise struggle with strenuous exercise.

Professor Myriam Hunink from Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, whose research was published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology, explained: "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."

Have you swapped traditional aerobic exercise for yoga? Leave your comments below...
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