Strike a Pose for a Healthier HeartIN HEART HEALTH
One way to combat the age-old problem of heart disease is with an ancient discipline that's as popular as ever in the modern world: yoga.
Yoga developed in India thousands of years ago, but many people turn to the practice today to help them find peace-not to mention greater flexibility-in a fast-paced world. Increasingly, yoga is viewed as an optional component of a heart-healthy lifestyle, along with physical activity and a healthful diet.
The most significant benefit of yoga lies in its ability to help practitioners relax and reduce stress, a risk factor for heart disease. Research has shown that people who engage in yoga have higher heart rate variability-which can be an indicator of heart health-than those who don't practice yoga. Other benefits of yoga include:
• Better blood circulation
• Improved mood following cardiac events or cardiac surgeries
• Increased lung capacity and respiratory function, thanks to the discipline's focus on calm, even breathing
• Reduced blood pressure
Ask your physician about incorporating yoga into your life before you begin practicing it, particularly if you're new to the discipline. Ease into things with some beginners' poses such as mountain pose, in which you stand with your feet together, take a deep breath, and slowly raise your arms skyward with your palms facing each other. Once you're comfortable with a few poses, work up to practicing yoga for at least a few minutes every day.
Remember, yoga is just one component of a healthy lifestyle, and it doesn't take the place of the American Heart Association's recommended 150 minutes per week of moderately intense aerobic exercise. If practiced correctly and faithfully, however, yoga can help your heart keep up the beat.
|Guys, What Are You Waiting For?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, but many men don't take advantage of yoga to improve their heart health because they view the practice as a women's-only discipline or as something that's too "New Age" for them. Yoga tailored to men is changing that perception.
Two Massachusetts men have created Broga, a studio and type of yoga that emphasizes getting a good workout along with attaining mental peace and replaces soothing tones with rock music. In addition to benefiting the heart, yoga offers many benefits to men including improved flexibility-often a bigger problem for men than women-and better athletic performance. Perhaps, one day, yoga will be as common a practice among groups of men as watching football together on a big-screen TV.
Sources: heart.org, sciencedaily.com, time.com, yogajournal.com© 2013. True North Custom Media. All Rights Reserved.