People who incorporate yoga into their exercise regime are less likely to experience cardiovascular problems and poor mental health, a new study reveals.

Research from Elsevier has found that including yoga in your weekly exercise routine can lower your blood pressure and heart rate.

In addition, they have discovered that yoga is more beneficial for your health than standard stretching exercises.

Yoga is a mind and body practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques, meditation and relaxation.

It is an ancient practice that is said to have originated in India.

Yoga involves movement, meditation, and breathing techniques to promote mental and physical wellbeing.

Senior author Dr Paul Poirier said: “The aim of this pilot study was to determine whether the addition of yoga to a regular exercise training regimen reduces cardiovascular risk.

“While there is some evidence that yoga interventions and exercise have equal and/or superior cardiovascular outcomes, there is considerable variability in yoga types, components, frequency, session length, duration, and intensity.”

He added: “We sought to apply a rigorous scientific approach to identify cardiovascular risk factors for which yoga is beneficial for at-risk people and ways it could be applied in a healthcare setting such as a primary prevention programme.”

During the three-month study, the team of academics examined the health outcomes of 60 adults with high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome.

The cohort was split into two, with half of the group adding in yoga to their exercise regime and the other half adding in stretching.

The findings show that the participants’ systolic blood pressure in the yoga group decreased by 10 mmHg compared to a four mmHg reduction in those in the stretching group.

Dr Poirier said: “This study provides evidence for an additional non-pharmacologic therapy option for cardiovascular risk reduction and blood pressure control in people with high blood pressure, in the setting of a primary prevention exercise program.

“As observed in several studies, we recommend that people try to find exercise and stress relief for the management of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in whatever form the find most appealing.”

He concluded: “Our study shows that structured yoga practices can be a healthier addition to aerobic exercise than simply muscle stretching.”

The study has been published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

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