We aimed to determine whether the addition of yoga to a regular exercise training regimen improves cardiometabolic risk profile.
Sixty individuals with diagnosed hypertension (≥ 140/90 mm Hg for 3 measurements on different days) were recruited in an exercise training program. In addition to aerobic exercise training, participants were randomised into either a yoga or a stretching control group. Participants, over the 3-month intervention regimen, performed 15 minutes of either yoga or stretching in addition to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise training 5 times weekly. Blood pressure, anthropometry, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), glucose, and lipid levels as well as the Framingham and Reynolds Risk Scores were measured.
At baseline, there was no difference in age, sex, smoking status, body mass index, blood pressure, heart rate, lipid and glucose levels, and Framingham Risk Score between groups. After the 3-month intervention period, the decrement in systolic and diastolic blood pressures (before vs after stretching: 126 ± 11/76 ± 7 vs 122 ± 11/73 ± 8 mm Hg; before vs after yoga: 130 ± 13/77 ± 10 vs 119 ± 11/69 ± 8 mm Hg) and heart rate was greater (P < 0.001) in the yoga group, with similar decreases in lipid, glucose, and hs-CRP levels and Framingham Risk Score in both groups. Reynolds Risk Score decrement was higher in the yoga vs the control group (absolute reduction −1.2 ± 1.2 vs −0.6 ± 0.8; relative reduction 13.2 ± 11.8% vs 9.3 ± 6.5%; P < 0.05).
In patients with hypertension, the practice of yoga incorporated in a 3-month exercise training program was associated with greater improvement in resting blood pressure and heart rate and Reynolds Risk Score compared with stretching.