Can yoga lower high blood pressure?

yoga_June24_AKnown as the ‘silent killer’ the problems associated with high blood pressure, and certainly the ways in which to reduce it, are worth not keeping quiet about. And a recent study suggests that yoga could be the answer to those suffering from mild hypertension who do not want to face a lifelong prescription to medication.

Around one in three adults in the US alone suffers from high blood pressure, making it a real health concern for billions of people across the globe. Often excess weight is associated with this condition as obesity can impact your blood sugar levels. Keeping fit and active can help lower your blood pressure by controlling weight issues and improving cardiovascular health.

A normal blood pressure reading should be under 120 over 80. Aside from exercise in general, the effects of yoga on blood pressure has specifically been examined in a recent study at the University of Pennsylvania.

The study

Three groups were created with a total of 58 participants aged between 38 and 62. One group followed a diet to reduce weight as well as a walking program. Another group practiced yoga 2-3 times a week for 24 weeks. The third group followed a combined yoga and diet program. The study looked at the impact of yoga on those with pre-hypertension or mild hypertension

The results

The diet and walking group saw a drop in blood pressure by an average of one point, but the biggest drop was with those following a yoga program, with a reduction in blood pressure of three points on average from both the systolic and diastolic numbers. While the yoga and diet combined group also saw blood pressure go down this was not significantly different than those who practiced yoga alone.

Stress and blood pressure

Because yoga affects the mind, as well as the body, it is a great stress reliever and it is this mindful relaxation that could be having such a positive impact on blood pressure. The specific focus of yoga in bringing attention to the present moment and becoming body aware really creates space to let the body self-soothe in many respects.

Not only that, but yoga is renowned for instigating the release of feel-good neurotransmitters which also have an impact on mood and stress levels.

Individual care

Just as the body responds differently to yoga depending on your flexibility and fitness levels for example, health issues are personal too. While yoga may help reduce blood pressure there are many other forms of medical support and changes in lifestyle which may work well with an exercise plan, depending on the advice of a medical professional.

Yoga can inspire change

If you do need to make changes in how you live your life then yoga can help inspire that change and motivate you too. After yoga practice you will undoubtedly feel refreshed and energized and this can help give you the boost you need to start to look at your diet and your habits.

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