Friday, February 5, 2010

Yoga reduces inflammation, improves heart health -- two more reasons for a regular practice!

Today (Friday, February 5) is the 22nd day of the 30 Day Yoga Challenge.  You're almost there!   Read below for more reasons to practice yoga regularly.

Thanks to L.A. for forwarding this article to me!

An article in, Yoga Reduces Inflammation and Improves Heart Health cites evidence of more reasons to practice yoga on a regular basis.

Besides the usual reasons people have for practicing yoga -- to develop greater flexibility, strength, balance,  and to reduce stress -- there are also physiological benefits to the regular practice of yoga.

From the article, "People who regularly practice yoga reduce compounds in the blood that contribute to inflammation. Yoga has also been shown to increase heart rate variability (HRV) which is a sign of good heart health."

Two studies were cited:
In the first study, blood samples were drawn from woman who were either "yoga novices" (less than 12 classes), or "yoga experts" (those who had practiced twice a week for 2 years).   The "yoga novices" had higher levels of cytokine IL-6 in their blood than the "yoga experts".   Cytokine IL-6 increases inflammation in the body, which contributes to heart disease and diabetes, as well as other age-related diseases.   Lower levels of this substance help to keep us healthier as we age, and the practice of yoga is one method of lowering these levels.  For more info read Yoga Reduces Cytokine Levels

The next study measured the heart rate variability (HRV) in men who were either "yoga novices" or "yoga experts".   The "yoga experts" had a higher HRV, which indicates greater heart health.   The heart rate of a healthy person is steady, but ready to respond to other stimuli that require a higher heart rate.   For more info on this study, read Yoga Boosts Heart Health

The author of this article concludes that practicing yoga just twice a week gives us many physical benefits.   NOTE that this is a regular yoga practice, not just the occasional class.  The benefits come from steady, sustained practice.

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