Tag Archives: Healthy Living News

David Magone: 6 Heart-Healthy Yoga Postures

1 Mar

Remember the sit-and-reach test from high school? Your results may have been more important than you thought. A study conducted at the University of North Texas suggests that yoga or other stretching disciplines may have a positive impact on overall heart health and recommends that stretching should be “integrated as a new recommendation into the known cardiovascular benefits of regular exercise.”

Kinesiologist and yoga blogger Kreg Weiss recently explored this issue (see full article), citing two studies that bucked the trending opinion that yoga does not have cardiovascular benefits. The first study, conducted by K. Yamamoto, et al., found that middle-aged and older adults with limited flexibility were more likely to suffer from age-related arterial stiffening than others of the same age group with greater flexibility. The second showed that arterial stiffness can be reduced by stretching alone — even if you don’t engage in additional strength training or traditional cardio activities.

These findings have important implications for your health, because arterial stiffness can increase the likelihood of complications, including high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke.

While these studies do suggest that stretching and yoga can have a positive impact on cardiovascular health, it should be mentioned that you shouldn’t give up aerobic training altogether. The Center for Disease Control recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic training per week for overall heart heath.

Can’t touch your toes anymore? Not to worry. Practice this short cycle of postures three times per week to improve the results of the sit and reach test.

Hold each posture for a minimum of 60 seconds each. Practice variations 1-4 until you can grab your toes. Afterward, gradually work deeper into the forward fold by gradually adding variations 5-6 to your practice.

If you have herniated disks or other back problems, make sure to consult with a yoga teacher before beginning these exercises.

viaDavid Magone: 6 Heart-Healthy Yoga Postures.

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Yoga Could Decrease Costs, Sick Days For People With Chronic Back Pain

22 Aug
Yoga-For-Back-Pain-Relief

Yoga for back pain relief

People with chronic low back pain may want to try taking to the yoga mat to relieve their symptoms, a small new study suggests.

Researchers from the University of York in the United Kingdom found that back pain sufferers who participated in a group yoga program for 12 weeks had fewer medical costs and fewer missed days from work, compared with people who didn’t participate in the yoga program.

“We welcome the fact that not only has yoga been found to help people manage their back pain, but that it is also cost effective, and results in fewer sick days,” Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK, which funded the study, said in a statement. “It is another option for people who are struggling to manage their condition, and one that encourages the move to self-management.”

The Spine journal study included more than 300 people who experienced recurring back pain; half of them were assigned to the 12-week yoga program and also received standard medical care, while the other half only received standard medical care for their pain. (Standard medical care could mean anything from seeing a physiotherapist, to receiving prescription painkillers.)

The researchers found that each person was able to participate in the yoga intervention at a cost of less than 300 pounds ($472 in U.S. dollars). And people who participated in the yoga program also took fewer sick days from work than people who only received the standard care.

Yoga has been shown in past studies to aid in back pain relief. Researchers found that yoga classes or stretching classes helped people with chronic low back pain to manage their pain, compared with just using a “self-care” book, according to a 2011 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

And “several other studies — all smaller than ours — have found that Iyengar yoga and general Hatha yoga are helpful for persons with back pain,” study researcher Karen Sherman, Ph.D., of the Group Health Research Institute, earlier told HuffPost. “My guess is that any therapeutically-oriented style of yoga could be helpful to people with chronic back pain.”

viaYoga Could Decrease Costs, Sick Days For People With Chronic Back Pain.