Exercise and good physical shape are good for the heart. Regular exercise is good for health. But apparently the effect can be increased by finishing your workout in a certain way.
Whether it’s a long session of running or lifting weights, for many athletes, a round of stretching is an integral part of a workout. But according to a recent study, it would be smarter to change this type of cooling to another method. Because researchers from Canada found that 15 minutes of yoga at the end of a workout seems to be particularly good for the heart.
yoga versus stretching
The background to the study was that scientists at Laval University in Quebec, Canada, wanted to find out how yoga affects heart health. They consciously compared the training method with a stretching unit in order to be able to make statements about whether flexibility exercises that are also part of yoga have positive effects or whether yoga also offers health benefits.
Also interesting: The 8 steps of yoga according to Pantanjali
course of study
For their study, the research team led by study leader Dr. Paul Priorier included 60 people with hypertension and metabolic syndrome. With them they carried out a three-month exercise program. To do this, the scientists divided the subjects into two groups. One group did 15 minutes of yoga five days a week at the end of their 30-minute aerobic workout. The other group finished resistance training with 15 minutes of stretching.
To assess the impact on heart health, the researchers took the participants’ body measurements and measured their blood pressure, highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) in the blood, which is produced in the body when there is inflammation, as well as glucose and lipid levels. They also used the Framingham and Reynolds risk scoring methods to calculate the risk of heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.
The two groups of subjects were not only equal in terms of age and sex, at the start of the study there were also no differences in terms of smoking rate, BMI, resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure, resting heart rate, and pulse pressure.1
Yoga at the end of a workout is more effective than stretching
After three months, resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure, mean arterial pressure, and heart rate were found to decrease in both the yoga and stretching groups. However, there was a difference in effect on systolic blood pressure. This value shows the pressure with which blood is pushed from the heart into the body. This is where yoga stood out compared to stretching.
While systolic blood pressure dropped by 4 mmHg in people who finished their stretching workouts, it dropped by 10 mmHg in yogis. The 15-minute yoga routine also reduced resting heart rate and 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease, as measured by the Reynolds risk score.two
Also interesting: Can you build muscles with yoga? That’s what the study says.
Effect of yoga on blood pressure and heart health
With the results of their study, the Canadian researchers were able to confirm previous research that had shown that yoga has a positive effect on blood pressure and therefore on the heart.3 However, the exact mechanism that causes this effect of yoga has not yet been precisely investigated. The current study from Canada provides the interesting insight that it appears that it is not specifically the stretching exercises contained in yoga that make the training method so effective for heart health. Otherwise, yoga and stretching should have been even for results. There seem to be components or movement sequences of yoga that go beyond just stretching and are particularly good for the heart.
If you want to do something good for your heart or lower your high blood pressure, you should consider integrating yoga into your regular sports routine. Just 15 minutes at the end of another workout, like running, can do a lot, and more than just stretch your muscles, says the Canadian study leader.