Yoga seems to be everyone’s go-to workout for flexibility and muscle strengthening. A single class can also boost your mood, clear your mind and relax your body. Does yoga provide enough cardio to help your heart?
Research is starting to look for answers. A 2014 meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology showed that yoga did provide some cardiovascular benefits compared with those who did not exercise, the yogis had lower BMIs, lower blood pressure and cholesterol readings. They also lost weight and had lower triglyceride levels, which lowers the risk of heart disease.
Yoga has proven relaxation and stress reduction benefits, in addition to the movement, which may be part of the reason studies have found an abundance of positives. However, the movement may not be enough. According to the American Heart Association, if your heart rate isn’t regularly climbing above 100 beats per minute while exercising, you need to boost your cardio efforts.
Try checking out types of yoga that may raise your heart rate. Some ashtanga and vinyasa classes tend to be more intense by incorporating flows that keep you constantly moving. Other new incarnations of yoga are combining elements of the practice with high intensity interval training. It is good to do some research to see what is available in your area.
Otherwise, supplement light yoga stretching with some walking or biking. Your heart and health will thank you.