Posted on Dec 19, 2016, 6 a.m.
1 hour of yoga a day reduces blood pressure and may assist those with prehypertension in avoiding developing high blood pressure.
New research in a study presented at the 68th Annual Conference of the Cardiological Society of India (CSI) reported that yoga may have health benefits for prehypertension patients and may prevent prehypertension from developing into hypertension.
It is suggested that one hour of yoga every day reduces blood pressure and may help patients having prehypertension to avoid developing high blood pressure.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have estimated that 75 million American adults have high blood pressure and that one in three Americans have prehypertension where blood pressure is higher than the suggested normal, but not high enough to be in the range of hypertension.
As a risk factor for stroke and heart disease, hypertension’s definition is having a systolic blood pressure recorded at 140 mercury millimeters per gram or even higher and/or a diastolic blood pressure recorded at 90 mercury millimeters per gram or even higher. Prehypertension’s definition is a systolic blood pressure between 120 and 139 or a diastolic blood pressure of 80 to 89.
The researchers, led by cardiologist Dr. Ashutosh Angrish at Delhi, India‘s Sir Gangaram Hospital, examined hatha yoga’s effect on the blood pressure of 60 patients with prehypertension. The participants were healthy, were an average age of 56 years in the yoga group and 52 years in the control group. The yoga group had 16 women and 14 men and the control group had 17 women and 13 men. The average baseline blood pressure for 24 hours was 130/80 mmHg in the yoga group and 127/80 mmHg in the control group.
The patients were divided into two groups of 30 with one group making conventional lifestyle changes and practicing hatha yoga for three months and the control group only making changes in lifestyle such as in their diet, doing moderate aerobic exercise, and stopping smoking. Hatha yoga is the basis of modern yoga but has less of an emphasis on physical postures than most of today’s yoga practices.
Participants practiced one hour of yoga each day for one month with an instructor and then did so at home for the remaining two months. The practice included physical poses involving breathing control exercises and stretching.
Yoga significantly decreased blood pressure with 24-hour and nighttime diastolic blood pressure falling by approximately 4.5 mmHg and the mean arterial pressure over 24 hours declining by approximately 4.9 mmHg. There was no significant change in the control group’s blood pressure. Even a small 2 mmHg decrease in diastolic blood pressure has a potential of decreasing coronary heart disease by six percent and transient ischaemic attack and stroke by 15 percent.
Dr. Angrish suggests that doctors should recommend doing hatha yoga for one hour daily to their patients with prehypertension. It is easy to practice, is very economical; can go a long way in improving one’s overall health, and gives a sense of well-being.
European Society of Cardiology news release