According to a study published in the upcoming issue of the International Journal of Medical Engineering and Informatics, the practice of yoga may boost heart health.
Researchers at the Indian University of Technology found that heart rate variability, a proven sign of a healthy heart, has been shown to be higher in yoga practitioners than in non-practitioners.
In healthy individuals, heart rate variability, which refers to the beat-to-beat changes in heart rate, tends to be quite high. Contrastingly, low heart rate variability is commonly associated with cardiac abnormalities found in unhealthy hearts.
In their preliminary study, the researchers concluded that "there is strengthening of parasympathetic (vagal) control in subjects who regularly practice yoga, which is indicative of better autonomic control over heart rate and so a healthier heart."
Experts find that diet and exercise are the most successful ways of defending oneself against heart disease. Preventative measures include a reduction of sodium intake, a diet that is low in saturated fats, cholesterol and trans fats, as well as regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight, The New York Times reports.