Could Improve Heart Health

Could Improve Heart Health

From pumping blood throughout the body to supplying tissues with important nutrients, the health of your heart is an essential component of overall health.

Studies show that yoga may help improve heart health and reduce several risk factors for heart disease.

One study found that participants over 40 years of age who practiced yoga for five years had a lower blood pressure and pulse rate than those who didn’t (11Trusted Source).

High blood pressure is one of the major causes of heart problems, such as heart attacks and stroke. Lowering your blood pressure can help reduce the risk of these problems (12Trusted Source).

Some research also suggests that incorporating yoga into a healthy lifestyle could help slow the progression of heart disease.

A study followed 113 patients with heart disease, looking at the effects of a lifestyle change that included one year of yoga training combined with dietary modifications and stress management.

Participants saw a 23% decrease in total cholesterol and a 26% reduction in “bad” LDL cholesterol. Additionally, the progression of heart disease stopped in 47% of patients (13Trusted Source).

It’s unclear how much of a role yoga may have had versus other factors like diet. Yet it can minimize stress, one of the major contributors to heart disease (14Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:
Alone or in combination with a healthy lifestyle, yoga may help decrease risk factors for heart disease.

5. Improves Quality of Life
Yoga is becoming increasingly common as an adjunct therapy to improve quality of life for many individuals.

In one study, 135 seniors were assigned to either six months of yoga, walking or a control group. Practicing yoga significantly improved quality of life, as well as mood and fatigue, compared to the other groups (15Trusted Source).

Other studies have looked at how yoga can improve quality of life and reduce symptoms in patients with cancer.

One study followed women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy. Yoga decreased symptoms of chemotherapy, such as nausea and vomiting, while also improving overall quality of life (16Trusted Source).

A similar study looked at how eight weeks of yoga affected women with breast cancer. At the end of the study, the women had less pain and fatigue with improvements in levels of invigoration, acceptance and relaxation (17Trusted Source).

Other studies have found that yoga may help improve sleep quality, enhance spiritual well-being, improve social function and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in patients with cancer (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:
Some studies show that yoga could improve quality of life and may be used as an adjunct therapy for some conditions.

6. May Fight Depression
Some studies show that yoga may have an anti-depressant effect and could help decrease symptoms of depression.

This may be because yoga is able to decrease levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that influences levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter often associated with depression (20Trusted Source).

In one study, participants in an alcohol dependence program practiced Sudarshan Kriya, a specific type of yoga that focuses on rhythmic breathing.

After two weeks, participants had fewer symptoms of depression and lower levels of cortisol. They also had lower levels of ACTH, a hormone responsible for stimulating the release of cortisol (2Trusted Source).

Other studies have had similar results, showing an association between practicing yoga and decreased symptoms of depression (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).

Based on these results, yoga may help fight depression, alone or in combination with traditional methods of treatment.

SUMMARY:
Several studies have found that yoga may decrease symptoms of depression by influencing the production of stress hormones in the body.
7. Could Reduce Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is a persistent problem that affects millions of people and has a range of possible causes, from injuries to arthritis.

There is a growing body of research demonstrating that practicing yoga could help reduce many types of chronic pain.

In one study, 42 individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome either received a wrist splint or did yoga for eight weeks.

At the end of the study, yoga was found to be more effective in reducing pain and improving grip strength than wrist splinting (23Trusted Source).

Another study in 2005 showed that yoga could help decrease pain and improve physical function in participants with osteoarthritis of the knees (24Trusted Source).

Although more research is needed, incorporating yoga into your daily routine may be beneficial for those who suffer from chronic pain.

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