According to a recent study, women who regularly practice yoga can reduce inflammation that is commonly associated with normal aging and stress.
The research, conducted at Ohio State University, showed that women who practiced restorative yoga at least twice a week had lower amounts of cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) in their blood. IL-6 is a key part of the body’s inflammatory response and has been linked to stroke, heart disease, diabetes and many other age-related diseases.
Respondents who regularly did yoga also showed less inflammation after stressful periods than women of the same age who did not participate in the meditative exercise.
"Hopefully, this means that people can eventually learn to respond less strongly to stressors in their everyday lives by using yoga and other stress-reducing modalities," said lead author Janice Kiecolt-Glaser.
The study also found that "expert" practitioners had healthier levels of IL-6 than respondents who described themselves as "novice" yoga participants.
"People need to be educated about this," said Bill Malarkey, co-author of the study. "They need to be taking responsibility for their health and how they live. Doing yoga and similar activities can make a difference."