Stretching could do more than just make you supple and relaxed. New research suggests that women with PCOS who practice yoga and meditation at least three times a week may reduce their blood pressure, pulse rate and risk of Cardiovascular Disease. Even those diagnosed with a heart condition benefit from yoga, according to a study by Yale University’s School of Medicine.
Dr. Satish Sivasankaram, who carried out the research, said healthy volunteers taking a six-week yoga and meditation program improved blood vessel function by 17%. Also called endothelial function, blood vessel function measures the way vessels contract and expand to aid blood flow.
In a major surprise, study participants who suffered from Cardiovascular Disease had close to a 70% improvement in blood vessel function after taking part in the yoga course.
Blood vessel function is an important indicator of atherosclerosis, a type of “hardening of the arteries” in which cholesterol, fat and other blood components like plaque build up in the walls of the arteries. As the build-up progresses, the blood vessels become less supple and less able to contract and expand.
Dr. Sivasankarum’s study was the first to look at the way blood vessels respond to stress, which has been linked to Cardiovascular Disease.
Yoga and meditation are often recommended as a way of relieving stress for those with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. An estimated 13.5 million Americans now practice yoga or other mind-body exercises such as tai chi, according to a survey by the Sports Goods Manufacturers Association. Some 1.6 million of these participants are 55 or older.
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