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Research: Heart healthy exercise

A new study has shown that combining yoga with aerobic exercise is twice as effective at reducing heart disease risk factors in patients than either done alone

Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 11
Yoga can be as good for the heart as aerobic exercise / photo: shutterstock.com
Yoga can be as good for the heart as aerobic exercise / photo: shutterstock.com
Heart disease patients could benefit from learning Indian yoga and making it a routine part of daily life

Doctors and scientists all agree that regular aerobic exercise is good for the heart as it can improve high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and other key risk factors for heart disease. And while this form of exercise is often championed as being best for cardiovascular health, an extensive 2014 review of 69 studies has demonstrated that yoga can be just as good for the heart as aerobic exercise – or cardio, as it’s more commonly known.

A COMBINED APPROACH
New research presented at the 2017 Emirates Cardiac Society Congress in Dubai – in association with the American College of Cardiology’s Middle East Conference – now suggests that a combined approach may be best. Their study, which has not yet been published, found that heart disease patients who did both yoga – specifically Indian yoga – and aerobic exercise achieved twice as much reduction in body mass index (BMI), blood pressure and cholesterol levels than those who did aerobic exercise or Indian yoga only.

As reported by the authors, Sonal Tanwar and Naresh Sen, both from HG SMS Hospital, located in Jaipur, India, the study involved 750 patients with coronary heart disease.

Of these patients, 240 were assigned to three six-month sessions of Indian yoga only, and 225 patients did aerobic exercise only, over that period of time. A final group of 285 patients did both yoga and aerobic exercise.

IMPROVED RISK FACTORS
At the end of the study period, the researchers found that blood pressure, total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, weight and waist circumference all fell by similar amounts among the patients who did only yoga or aerobic exercise.

But when the results of the group that did both forms of exercise were assessed, these markers of heart disease were found to have fallen by twice as much as the other groups.

“Heart disease patients could benefit from learning Indian yoga and making it a routine part of daily life,” said study authors Tanwar and Sen.

They added: “Combining Indian yoga and aerobic exercise reduces mental, physical and vascular stress and can lead to decreased cardiovascular mortality and morbidity.”

* Tanwar, S and Sen, N. Yoga and Aerobic Exercise Together May Improve Heart-Disease Risk Factors. Emirates Cardiac Society Congress, 19 Oct 2017

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New research suggests that combined Indian yoga and aerobic exercise is significantly better at reducing heart disease risk than either exercise alone
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