A routine health check up at the doctor’s clinic reveals that your blood pressure is slightly higher than normal. The doctor advises you some basic lifestyle modifications along with an hour of yoga daily. Yoga? For borderline hypertension? Yes. According to a recent Indian study, practicing yoga can be beneficial for reducing blood pressure in patients.
A team of researchers from India led by Dr Ashutosh Angrish, MD a cardiologist at Sir Gangaram Hospital in New Delhi quoted that those patients with pre – hypertension have an increased risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure) if proper lifestyle is not followed.
Pre – hypertension is when the systolic blood pressure readings are between 120-139 mmHg or when the diastolic is 80-89 mmHg.Readings beyond this range points towards hypertension. Pre- hypertension as well as hypertension can lead to heart attacks, heart failure and stroke in the future.
The study revealed that practicing hatha yoga asanas along with proper diet over a three month period showed a significant drop in the blood pressure readings.
To test this theory, the participants having slightly elevated blood pressure, but otherwise healthy were sorted into two groups of 30. One group was offered one hour of yoga exercises which included stretching, yoga and pranayam from a professional instructor for the first month (followed by self practice for the remaining two) along with lifestyle changes and the other control group was only advised lifestyle changes. Lifestyle modifications consisted of diet change, moderate aerobics and cessation of smoking and other addictions.
The yoga group showed a reduction in the in their 24 hour – diastolic blood pressure as well as the night diastolic pressure by almost 4.5 mmHg. The 24 hour mean arterial pressure showed a decrease of 4.9 mmHg. The control group did not show any significant changes.
Though this reduction may be insignificant, but in the long run it is extremely beneficial as a reduction of 2 mmHg can decrease the risk of coronary heart disease by 6% and stroke by 15%.
Yoga is an integral part of Indian culture since ancient times. It is a very economical, easy to practice and is readily accepted by the masses, which can help in achieving good health in the future. A proper lifestyle that includes yoga, a healthy diet, avoiding smoking, alcohol and other stimulants are all steps in the right direction.
So folks, roll out your mats and head to your yoga classes now! Doctors’ orders.
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