Adding Yoga to Aerobic Exercise Just 15 Minutes Per Day Eases Stress Reduction & Lowers Blood Pressure

BP reduction is greater with 15 minutes a day of yoga, five times a week for three months, plus 30 minutes of aerobic training, compared with stretching control

In addition to aerobic exercise, practicing yoga is associated with more significant reductions in blood pressure than stretching in patients with diagnosed hypertension, according to a study published online in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

Ashok Pandey, from the Cambridge Cardiac Care Centre in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues randomly assigned 60 individuals with diagnosed hypertension (≥140/90 mm Hg for three measurements on different days) to aerobic exercise training (30 minutes five times a week) plus either 15 minutes of yoga or a stretching control for three months.

The researchers found that the decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressures were more significant in the yoga group (before versus after stretching: 126/76 versus 122/73 mm Hg; before versus after yoga: 130/77 versus 119/69 mm Hg). The groups had similar decreases in lipid, glucose, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels and the Framingham Risk Score. The yoga group also saw a more significant decrease in the Reynolds Risk Score versus the stretching control group (relative reduction, 13.2 versus 9.3 percent).

“This study provides evidence for an additional nonpharmacologic therapy option for cardiovascular risk reduction and blood pressure control in patients with high blood pressure, in the setting of a primary prevention exercise program,” a coauthor said in a statement.

“As observed in several studies, we recommend that patients try to find exercise and stress relief for managing hypertension and cardiovascular disease in whatever form they find most appealing. Our study shows that structured yoga practices can be a healthier addition to aerobic exercise than muscle stretching.”

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