Study finds yoga, aerobic exercise together especially good for heart

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — If you are running or doing other aerobic exercise for heart health, you might want to consider adding yoga to the mix.

New research presented at the 8th Emirates Cardiac Society Congress shows heart disease patients benefited most when yoga and aerobics are combined, rather than practiced in isolation. Those participating in both saw twice the reduction in blood pressure, body mass index, and cholesterol levels compared to those who only did aerobics or yoga alone.

Women doing yoga
A new study finds that heart disease patients who practice yoga and enjoy regular aerobic activity have lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and BMI.

“Combined Indian yoga and aerobic exercise reduce mental, physical and vascular stress and can lead to decreased cardiovascular mortality and morbidity,” say study authors Dr. Sonal Tanwar and Dr. Naresh Sen in an American College of Cardiology press release. “Heart disease patients could benefit from learning Indian yoga and making it a routine part of daily life.”

Specifically, the researchers looked at how yoga and aerobic training affect obese heart disease patients with type-2 diabetes.

The 750 patients participating in the study were divided into three groups each group doing either yoga, aerobics, or both. Over a year and a half, the study found those practicing yoga or doing aerobic exercise had equivalent drops in weight, LDL, triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood pressure.

The group that did both yoga and aerobic exercise performed twice as well in all those measures, and showed improvement in cardiovascular efficiency and fitness.

The study comes following many other recent findings on yoga showing benefits such as improved brain function in elderly practitioners, back pain relief, reduced depression, and reduced symptoms of PTSD.

The 8th Emirates Cardiac Society Congress at which the findings were presented is put on in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology Middle East Conference.

The results of such studies are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.