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Feeling Stiff? Yoga Flexibility Linked to Unclogged Arteries, Healthy Heart, Study Finds

in Thanks for the tip, YD News

heart-healthy-yoga-matHey good news! All that bending and stretching and breathing you’re doing? It’s good for you! We keep hearing more and more about how yoga helps promote healthy living inside and out, which is super cause we knew that, we’re walking proof! But when the news is garnished with that pretty little “s” word it just makes it all so much more exciting. No not savasana…dorks (we love you). STUDY! It’s the magic word. Because that’s science folks, and people pay attention to science, mostly. When we talk about yoga to our friends, sure we may sound convincing in our animated recitations of yoga’s super awesomeness, but whip out that study word and you may have an audience. Of course, ‘health’ should be a key word too, but from our experience that usually produces the glazed eyes response.

OK, so we already know that regular exercise keeps the heart healthy and reduces risk of cardiovascular disease – we used to have a PE teacher who told us on our 4th lap around the track “your heart says thank you!” (we figure that’ll be some time around age 85 when we’re still climbing to our 5th floor walk-up). But Yoga isn’t usually associated with the recommended aerobic activities to keep the ticker in shape. However, a study(!), recently published in the American Journal of Physiology, has found that stretching exercises as in Yoga, don’t just help with stiff muscles and joints but prevents stiff arteries as well, which means less clog and lower risk of heart-related disease.

Elastic blood vessels help moderate blood pressure. Not surprisingly, then, researchers found that those who could not reach to or beyond their toes in the sit-and-stretch test were more likely than their flexible peers to have higher systolic blood pressure — the peak pressure reading taken as the heart contracts.

The Japanese researchers who conducted the study noted that it’s not just exercise, but the flexibility that keep arteries clear:

“We believe that flexibility exercise … should be integrated as a new recommendation into the known cardiovascular benefits of regular exercise,” Kenta Yamamoto, a study author from Japan’s National Institute of Health and Nutrition and the University of North Texas, said in a press release.

Yoga, just like Drano®! So keep practicing you healthy-hearted hot-blooded yogadorks. Your heart says ‘thank you!’

Further readingHow Yoga Therapy Helps Lower Blood Pressure Naturally at yogatherapyweb.com

Yoga as Medicine by Timothy McCall is a great resource, check out some excerpts on heart disease

[source: LA Times blogs]

EarlierToo Busy for Savasana? Why We All Need to Play Dead

ps. thanks to lotuspadyogamats.com for donating the lovely purple eco mat for mr. healthy heart

6 comments… add one
  • Oh! Well, now that science has proved it, we can all rest easy knowing that yoga really is good for us!! 😉

  • How redeeming if true! But I’m a skeptic. Many “scientific” studies are flawed.

    What immediately amused me is the definition of the sit-and-reach test (sit in “dandasana” and reach forward as far as possible) and the title of the article “Poor trunk flexibility is associated with arterial stiffening.”

    Trunk flexibility? I can just see Iyengar teachers aghast at people trying to stretch their trunks (rather than hamstrings) in that “pose”!

    Yoga Spy

  • LOL on the picture!! I’m honored to help out mr healthy heart.

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