Manage blood pressure. Control cholesterol. Reduce blood sugar. Get active. Eat better. Lose weight. Stop Smoking. There’s a reason the most talked about ways to improve your heart health also comprise the American Heart Associations’ (AHA) “Simple 7”, a list of seven lifestyle strategies that can help people lower their risk of heart disease. They work!
But there’s another proven way to protect your heart, and that’s by managing stress. While there are many ways to do so, one ancient practice that has been helping people manage stress for thousands of years. Yoga.
For those who may have heard of it, but aren’t quite sure what yoga is, it is a practice that involves a series of stretches and poses, coordinated with deep breathing and meditation. And according to many national experts, including the AHA, its benefits are widespread.
Yoga can lower blood pressure. The calming effect of yoga is said to produce benefits as soon as people begin practicing, including lowering blood pressure and leaving people feeling more relaxed after a session.
Yoga can improve flexibility and exercise performance. According to the AHA, after just 12 weeks of regular yoga, people may see dramatic improvements in the exercise functionality and blood pressure. They may also experience a decrease in cholesterol levels.
Yoga helps heal after heart disease. The aftermath of dealing with a serious heart condition can leave people with high levels of emotional stress. The practice of yoga has been shown to help patients recover as it can help them overcome depression and even grief.
If those aren’t reason enough to give yoga a try, it has also been shown to improve your energy and your mood. But, before you grab your mat, be sure to talk to your physician, especially if you are living with a heart condition or have previously suffered from heart disease. If you are in need of a primary care physician, you can search for one that best fits your needs using our online Find a Doctor tool.