Can Yoga Decrease Your Heart Disease Risk?

Yoga is an Appropriate Exercise for Everyone

Many individuals are concerned about developing heart disease while aging, making it impossible to live life to its fullest. While exercise is an important way to reduce the risks of having cardiac conditions, intense sports are often too difficult for individuals with mobility issues such as stiff joints from arthritis or balancing difficulties due to aging. Fortunately, new medical research indicates that several forms of yoga are an excellent way to decrease the risks of developing heart disease. Yoga is an ancient type of exercise that offers gentle movements, soothing stretches and deep breathing for individuals wanting to have a healthier cardiovascular system.

Yoga Does Not Require Specialized Equipment

In several cultures, individuals have used yoga for spiritual enlightenment, mental focusing and physical well-being for many years. Yoga is an easy type of exercise to begin in any location because it does not require expensive equipment such as treadmills or elliptical machines. Someone wanting to participate in yoga stretches does not need a large space to exercise or specialized footwear. Having a soft mat to place on the floor to recline or pose is recommended, but it is possible to perform yoga without those things.

How Yoga Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease

Individuals sitting in wheelchairs are still able to do several yoga routines to reduce the risk of heart disease. Activity directors in assisted living centers plan yoga sessions for senior citizens to improve their lung capacity along with keeping arthritic joints flexible. For patients with Parkinson’s disease, yoga is a way to improve core strength to improve balance while walking. The great thing about yoga is that it also improves the body’s circulatory system by increasing blood flow and improving heart rate. Individuals engaged in yoga for 30 minutes at least three times a week experience:

  • Lower blood pressure – helping to prevent damage to arteries and veins
  • Less stress – deep breathing and physical movement provides relaxation
  • Reduced inflammation – blood circulation and muscle movement decreases pain
  • Increased physical stamina – strengthening the muscles makes it easier to walk
  • Better posture – strong back and hip muscles lead to a strong body core
  • Mental alertness – blood circulation to the brain increases to improve cognition
  • Weight management – routine exercise can prevent gaining weight
  • Reducing cholesterol – percentage levels of bad lipids decrease

There are Gentle Forms of Yoga

It is easy to understand how lowering high blood pressure or cholesterol levels diminishes heart disease, but subtle changes such as mental alertness also are vital for improving heart health. A senior citizen with improved brain functions is able to participate in many activities rather than remain sedentary, leading to better physical health. Yoga is an appropriate form of exercise for anyone, including children, teenagers and the elderly because there are numerous varieties that focus on different aspects of the body, including

  • Hatha yoga – focuses on controlling breathing for relaxation
  • Kripalu yoga – classic poses and slow movements
  • Sivananda yoga – focuses on basic poses that improve well-being