A healthy, active lifestyle is essential for good cardiovascular health. For sports lovers, it’s simple: a little dip in the pool over lunch hour, a spinning session after work or a good healthy walk in the evening, and you’re covered. But what if you don’t have the interest or ability to do sustained physical exercise like cycling, jogging or martial arts? In that case, lower intensity activities like yoga, meditation and tai-chi can be the key to success.
Low intensity activity : the winning alternative
Low intensity activities are based around breathing, concentration and flexibility rather than building muscle, coordination and strength, the hallmarks of higher intensity activities. But that’s no reason to minimize the benefits of these sports, which have been around for so long. Recent studies have demonstrated that the advantages of these physical activities, particularly relaxation, stress management, flexibility and muscle tone, bring their share of benefits to the heart. They’ve even discovered that yoga and meditation can help control risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity and stress.
Breathing: the key to reduce stress
Breathing. It’s an action so simple we do it without even thinking about it, and it’s at the heart of the benefits we derive from yoga.
The practice of yoga requires slow, meditative breathing, which allows yogis to relax and reduce their anxiety. Stress can lead to cardiovascular disease, so it’s no surprise that we can draw a connection between the practice of yoga and a decrease in the risk of developing these sorts of pathologies.
Another point to consider is that the work of simultaneously breathing and working your muscles delivers more oxygen to the body, which in turn lowers blood pressure.
Take the time to prevent cardiac problems
It’s true that between our commutes, work and sleep, time is often lacking. But is that really a good reason not to take care of yourself? No more excuses! Yoga is a good, inexpensive way to exercise that you can easily do at home. No need for cumbersome or sophisticated equipment; all you need is a mat, a water bottle and your zen attitude!
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