According to a new study presented at the annual meeting of the Cardiological Society of India in Kochi, India, yoga can help lower blood pressure in people who are at risk for developing hypertension.
“Patients with pre-hypertension slightly elevated blood pressure are likely to develop hypertension high blood pressure unless they improve their lifestyle,” said Dr Ashutosh Angrish, a cardiologist at Sir Gangaram Hospital in Delhi, India. “Both pre-hypertension and high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure.”
Indian study finds that yoga can help lower blood pressure in people who are at risk for developing hypertension
To reach their findings, Dr Angrish and his colleagues looked at 60 people with slightly high blood pressure
who were otherwise healthy. They assigned the study subjects to either practice Hatha yoga while also making lifestyle changes, or to just make lifestyle changes.
These lifestyle changes included quitting smoking, eating a healthier diet and doing moderate aerobic exercise.
Study subjects in the yoga group, who had an average age of 56, received yoga instruction for a month and then practised the activity at home. They practised controlled breathing, stretching and meditation for one hour every day.
Three months later, Dr Angrish’s team found that study subjects in the yoga group had decreases in blood pressure. On the other hand, those in the control group, who had an average age of 52, didn’t have decreases in blood pressure.
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Researchers feel that the reduction in blood pressure due to yoga may be modest, but clinically very meaningful
Your blood pressure reading consists of two numbers – systolic pressure (the top number), which measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart pumps blood and diastolic pressure (the bottom number), which measures pressure between your heartbeat.
It’s expressed in mm Hg, or millimetres of mercury.
Dr Angrish’s team said that they found that study subjects in the yoga group had 24-hour diastolic blood pressure and night diastolic blood pressure increases of 4.5 mm Hg and 24-hour average arterial pressure decreases of about 4.9 mm Hg.
“Although the reduction in blood pressure was modest, it could be clinically very meaningful because even a 2 mm Hg decrease in diastolic blood pressure has the potential to decrease the risk of coronary heart disease
by 6% and the risk of stroke and mini-stroke by 15%,” said Dr Angrish.
“Our research suggests that patients with pre-hypertension should be advised to practice Hatha yoga for one hour daily. It may prevent the development of hypertension and in addition give a sense of well-being,” he concluded.
If you’re at risk for developing hypertension, what are you waiting for? Grab your yoga mat and go get your “om” on!