As the world came together to the celebrate the significance and importance of yoga on the International Yoga Day, many myths about yoga have been broken. Celebrities like Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Malaika Arora and Kareena Kapoor Khan have promoted the holistic form of well-being time and again to shed light on how the spiritual asanas can help people in many ways.
Moreover, yoga also helps cure or fight several sedentary and lifestyle diseases such as heart stroke, high blood pressure, hypertension, diabetes and arthritis. But, did you know yoga can be good for your heart too?
This International Day of Yoga, here are five reasons why yoga is good for your heart by Dr Santosh Kumar Dora, senior cardiologist, Asian Heart Institute.
Yoga and Cardiac Health
Many studies have shown tremendous health benefits of yoga including that of cardiac health. Yoga is a body-mind activity which helps in flexibility, muscle strengthening, balance, relaxation and concentration. Here are the cardiac benefits of yoga:
Stress leads to increase in stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. which increases heart rate and blood pressure. Increased heart rate and blood pressure is detrimental for heart. Stress is a risk factor for coronary artery disease, hypertension, arrhythmia, heart failure, etc. Meditation and deep breathing leads to overall calming down effect, decreases heart rate and blood pressure. That in turn lessens the risk of various heart diseases.
Improves numbers related to heart health
Regular yoga decreases blood cholesterol counts, blood sugar in addition to heart rate and blood pressure. A few forms of yoga are helpful in decreasing the abdominal fat and waist circumference. It helps boost cardiac health. One study showed that the blood measurements and waist circumference — a marker of heart disease improved in middle aged adults with metabolic syndrome, who practiced yoga for three months.
Improves flexibility, core muscle strength
Yoga is a good form of exercise that burns calories. It improves flexibility of joints and core muscle strength. This in turn improves one’s capacity of doing aerobic exercises like jogging, running , swimming, cycling, etc. Aerobic exercises burn calories significantly and is predominantly responsible for a better general and cardiac health.
Yoga and smoking cessation
Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for coronary artery disease and heart attack. Smokers who practice yoga regularly tend to quit smoking. Yoga can help cut down on the stress and also decreases the urge to smoke. It is especially true for people who are stress-smokers.
Helps in cardiac rehabilitation
People who have faced cardiac conditions such as heart attack, arrhythmia, hypertension, heart failure or people who have undergone a bypass surgery or angioplasty face a lot of emotional and physical stress. Yoga is an effective way to decrease stress and introduce the patients to various cardiac rehabilitation programs. In fact, yoga is also widely practised during cardiac rehabilitation.
Yoga can be practised twice or thrice a week for 30 to 45 minutes a day to get good health and heart benefits. For patients with cardiac condition, it is ideal to practise yoga under a trainer.
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