Boost Heart-Health Without Vigorous Exercise
I often write to you about staying active to stay healthy. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to keep your body in more youthful shape. If there ever were a fountain of youth, staying active would be it.
But what if you can’t be as active as you’d like?
Many people – especially mature adults – simply can’t. Injuries or other health considerations make it hard to get the exercise health experts recommend. And there’s no nutritional supplement to fully replace being active.
But there is a way to promote at least one anti-aging benefit – even if you can’t jog or cycle. And it’s gentle enough on your body even people who can barely walk can take advantage.
You’ve heard me praise the benefits of yoga before. In past articles, I’ve shown you how yoga – even gentle yoga – can help you beat stress, increase flexibility, improve balance, strengthen and tone muscles, and leave you feeling more youthful.
Now doctors in the Netherlands have come up with an even bigger anti-aging benefit. By carefully reviewing 37 studies, they’ve found that yoga is better for your heart than anyone realized.
There are many different varieties of yoga. A few involve physically demanding, “pretzel-twisting” positions. But many others focus on gentle flexing and slow, fluid movements. There’s even a form called “chair yoga” that’s designed especially for people with limited mobility. So virtually anyone can boost their heart-health.
The Dutch team reviewed studies on several different yoga styles. Almost 3,000 volunteers were involved. And the benefits were huge. Yoga was linked to…
- A lower risk of high cholesterol
- A better chance of maintaining healthy blood pressure.
- Less risk of obesity.
And here’s where the news gets really good
People who practiced yoga regularly cut their overall risk of heart trouble just as much as those who participated in more vigorous activities. Including…
- Walking briskly
Most forms of yoga aren’t strenuous enough to count as aerobic activity. But yoga does count as resistance exercise. Even very gentle forms, such as “chair yoga.”
I probably don’t have to tell you this, but keeping your heart healthy is half the battle as you get older. Heart trouble is the #1 killer of both men and women. And now we know there’s a way to promote heart-health, even if you have mobility issues.
Of course, even if you don’t have mobility issues, yoga is a great way to promote overall health and youthfulness. It’s also a great way to get resistance exercise without having to go to the gym and without “pumping iron.”
Maybe you, or someone you love, have a mobility issue. Taking nutritional supplements that promote heart-health is a good first step. But now we know you can do even more to promote a youthful heart.
Yoga classes are widely available. There are also many programs available online
If you can’t take part in more vigorous activities – or if you just don’t enjoy them – you can still support a stronger, more youthful heart. Yoga may be just what you’ve been looking for.
Yours in continued good health,
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
“Yoga may guard against heart disease, study finds,” BBC News. Dec 15, 2014.