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Adapted from “The Doctor Will See you Now”, See original article here.
As popular as it has become, yoga still doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It is a serious exercise regimen and every bit as good for the heart as other forms of exercise, according to a recent analysis.
And because yoga is a lot less boring than riding a stationary bike, it may even be better than typical exercise when it comes to good heart health.
The authors of the analysis looked at 32 randomized controlled trials of how yoga affected risk factors for heart disease such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.First, the researchers reviewed trials comparing people who used yoga as a form of exercise to people who did not exercise. Yoga participants had lower body mass index (BMI), blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic) and cholesterol (both LDL and total) and had higher HDL (good) cholesterol.
They also had lower triglycerides and heart rate, and were more likely to lose weight during the trial. In fact, the only outcomes recorded where yoga did not lead to measurable improvements were fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin.
In trials comparing yoga’s effects to the impact of other types of aerobic exercise, such as cycling or brisk walking, the results were even simpler: there was no significant difference between yoga and other exercise.
The researchers caution that many of the trials were of rather short duration and had small numbers of participants, so it’s possible that the results of larger or longer trials might be different.
Yoga may even have an edge over traditional forms of exercise. It tends to be more acceptable to patients with physical disabilities, including people with joint pain, heart problems and the elderly. It also requires no special equipment and can be performed.
The study is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
..either alone at home or as a part of a class.
Moderate intensity aerobic exercise is where you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break into a sweat. You’re working at a moderate intensity if you’re able to talk but unable to sing the words to a song.
Vigorous intensity aerobic exercise is where you’re breathing hard and fast and your heart rate has increased significantly. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.
We’ve talked about using the RPE scale to gauge difficulty, you can also use the Metabolic Equivalents Task scale (METS)
One metabolic equivalent (MET) is defined as the amount of oxygen consumed while sitting at rest. Also known as your “Resting Metabolic Rate” (which is different from you Basal Metabolic Rate.). We can use the 1 MET to express the relative energy cost of physical activities as a multiple of the resting metabolic rate.
Using the METs scale, moderate activity is defined as 3.5 – >6 METs; vigorous activity is <6 METs
Here are some other common activities from the Harvard School of Public Health:
|Light <3.0 METs*
||Moderate 3.0–6.0 METs*||Vigorous >6.0 METs*|
|Walking—slowly = 2.0||Walking—very brisk (4mph) = 5.0;||Walking/Hiking (4.5mph)= 7.0
Jogging at 6 mph = 10.0
|Sitting—using computer = 1.5||Cleaning—heavy = 3.0–3.5
(washing windows, vacuuming, mopping)
|Shoveling = 7.0–8.5|
|Standing—light work = 2.0-2.5
(cooking, washing dishes)
|Mowing lawn = 5.5
(walk power mower)
|Carrying heavy loads = 7.5|
|Fishing—sitting = 2.0
Playing most instruments = 2.0–2.5
|Bicycling—light effort (10–12 mph) = 6.0
Badminton—recreational = 4.5
Tennis—doubles = 5.0
|Bicycling fast (14–16 mph) = 10.0
Basketball game = 8.0
Soccer casual = 7.0
Tennis—singles = 8.0
To improve overall health, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week – or a combination of the two for adults.
But what exactly do moderate and vigorous exercise mean and how do you know if you’re working out at the right intensity?
There are a couple different ways to measure the level of intensity, from “wearables” (heart rate monitors to more advanced spirometry and O2 saturation devices), but the easiest one is:
RATING of PERCEIVED EXERTION (RPE)
Perceived exertion is how hard you feel like your body is working. The RPE is based on the physical sensations you experience during physical activity, including:
There is a high correlation between a person’s perceived exertion rating and their actual heart rate during activity.
During your workout, use the RPE Scale to assign numbers to how you feel. Self-monitoring how hard your body is working can help you adjust the intensity of the activity by speeding up or slowing down your movements.
Click here for more info about the Borg RPE scale
Through experience of monitoring how your body feels, it will become easier to know when to adjust your intensity.
Over the next few weeks, I will put up some infographics about the Metabolic Equivalents of Tasks (METs)to help you gauge your level of activities.
Now, go and get sweaty!