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Yoga May Offer Benefits to People with Metabolic Syndrome

If you have metabolic syndrome, it’s time to strike a pose—a yoga pose, that is. According to a new study, practicing yoga may help reduce inflammation in people with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that occur together and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, this study follows up on previous research suggesting that yoga may help reduce waist circumference and blood pressure in people with metabolic syndrome. The 182 participants in the original trial were randomly assigned to either a yoga group, which had three one-hour yoga sessions per week for one year, or a control group, which did not do yoga but had their health monitored monthly for one year. Blood samples and body measurements were taken at the beginning and end of the trial to assess changes in waist circumference, blood pressure, and glucose, triglyceride, and HDL-cholesterol levels. For the current study, researchers analyzed data and ran extra tests on blood samples from a subgroup of 97 participants whose blood pressures were high-normal (systolic ≥ 130 mmHg or diastolic ≥ 85 mmHg) at enrollment, and found that:

  • Blood levels of adipokines (inflammation-regulating chemicals secreted by fat cells) improved in those in the yoga group, but worsened in those in the control group.
  • Being in the yoga group did not have a significant impact on blood pressure, waist circumference, or other factors related to metabolic syndrome in this subgroup analysis.

These findings are important because adipokines are associated with blood pressure control and are believed to be key regulators of metabolic syndrome and the risk of diabetes and heart disease. So, if you have metabolic syndrome, consider consulting your doctor about adding yoga to your health plan. In addition to yoga, aerobic exercise, strength training, and a healthy diet have also been found to reduce some of the components of metabolic syndrome, such as obesity, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Check out our exercise and diet tips if you need some ideas to get started on your road to better health.

Source: Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports

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