According to a three-month pilot study of hypertension individuals published by Elsevier in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, yoga is more beneficial than stretching exercises for improving cardiovascular health and wellness. Yoga decreased systolic blood pressure and resting heart rate, which reduced 10-year cardiovascular risk.
For multiple individuals, stretching exercises and the physical aspects of yoga practises share many commonalities but also have significant variances. Researchers said, “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. We sought to apply a rigorous scientific approach to identify cardiovascular risk factors for which yoga is beneficial for at-risk patients and ways it could be applied in a health setting such as a primary prevention program.”
Investigators recruited 60 individuals with previously diagnosed high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome for an exercise training program. Over the three-month intervention regimen, participants were divided into two groups, which performed 15 minutes of either structured yoga or stretching in addition to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise training five times weekly.
Blood pressure, anthropometry, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), glucose and lipids levels, and the Framingham and Reynolds Risk Scores were measured. At baseline, there was no difference between groups in age, sex, smoking rates, body mass index (BMI), resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure, resting heart rate and pulse pressure.
A source from the study quoted in media reports as saying, “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 simply muscle stretching.”