A primer on yoga for heart health

Yoga for heart health

It’s a common misconception that only cardiovascular exercises that spike up your heart rate are good for your heart health. In fact, yoga – a much calming and restful activity offers a wide variety of unparalleled health benefits for your heart. In fact, this is why doctors worldwide are recommending yoga for heart health.

Benefits of yoga on your heart:

 

Yoga reduces stress, which is a high-risk factor for heart disease

It is common knowledge that stress is a silent aggressor on your heart. Stress releases hormones that narrow your arteries (the tubes which supply blood to your body from the heart) and thereby increase blood pressure. Yoga lowers blood pressure as it calms you down because of the deep breathing and mental focus that the activity entails.  

Since stress, worry, and depression commonly occur in patients who have recently suffered a stroke, Yoga is a highly recommended activity as part of the overall treatment plan for these patients. 

Yoga brings about various physiological changes that improve heart health

High levels of blood sugar, cholesterol and blood glucose are major risk factors for heart disease. Practising yoga reduces these levels significantly.  

Moreover, waist circumference — another significant parameter for heart disease — improves in middle-aged adults with metabolic syndrome who practised yoga for at least three months. Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions such as blood pressure, high blood sugar, and excess body fat around the waist that occur simultaneously thereby drastically increasing the risk of heart disease.  

Thus, Yoga is also a highly recommended activity for patients who suffer from diabetes, hypertension, and other metabolic and lifestyle conditions. 

Yoga reduces the incidence of AFib episodes

Bi-weekly slow-paced yoga classes reduce the frequency of atrial fibrillation episodes in patients who suffer from that condition. Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is an irregular heartbeat. 

Patients who suffer from it may have a rapid heart rate or experience a fluttering sensation in their chest. It can also cause tiredness, faintness, and shortness of breath. 

AFib episodes strike suddenly and can last for a few hours, a few days, or persist all the time thus causing a great deal of discomfort and inconvenience to those affected. 

Yoga makes it easier to quit smoking

Yoga may be a useful tool in helping smokers quit as it helps to cut down on stress – a major cause of smoking. Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease.

8 yoga poses for heart health:

1. Easy Pose (Sukhasana)

2. Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

3. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

4. Big-Toe Pose (Padangusthasana)

5. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

6. Head-To-Knee Forward Bend (Janu Sirsasana)

7. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) 

8. Reclining Hand-To-Big Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana) 

Conclusion

The biggest plus side of yoga for heart health is that patients of all fitness levels can greatly benefit from it. Moreover, the physical demands that yoga makes on the body are less than higher intensity workouts that may not be suited for everybody. In a nutshell, practise yoga heartily for a healthy heart!

One of yoga’s primary benefits to heart health is its ability to relax the body and mind. Stress and depression usually result in a cardiac event, such as a heart attack.
As part of a holistic wellness approach, yoga can help you effectively manage stress.
To know more about yoga and similar measures that you can take to keep your heart healthy, speak to a Doctor on MediBuddy today.

Sources:

John Hopkins Medicine

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