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Not much for cardio? Try stretching out—it could have a huge payoff for your heart.
Thanks to the good folks at the Centers for Disease Control, we know that about 75 million Americans have—and 59 million more are on the verge of developing—high blood pressure, which can dramatically increase heart disease and stroke risk.
Those are some scary numbers.
Of course, if you think or have been told that you’re at risk, taking sensible steps like quitting smoking and exercising can help stave off high BP, also known as hypertension.
But if you’d like to be even more proactive, try yoga: A new study presented to the Cardiological Society of India shows that practicing hatha yoga an hour a day for a month can lower blood pressure even more than lifestyle changes.
In the study, the yogis, who did stretching poses and breathing exercises, had a huge drop in diastolic BP (pressure while your heart is resting) over 24 hours, from a high level (81) to a normal 76. A decrease that drastic could lower stroke risk by 15% and heart disease by 6%.