Yoga combines physical poses, breathing techniques, and meditation. In recent years, yoga has grown in popularity for both its gentle, low-impact approach and its associated health benefits, including lower blood pressure. A systematic review and meta-analysis in the March 2019 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, which looked at 49 clinical trials involving more than 3,500 participants in total, found that adults ages 30 to 69 with high blood pressure who practiced yoga three times a week saw an average 11 mmHg reduction in systolic pressure and a 6 mmHg reduction in diastolic pressure.
Doctors typically recommend aerobic activities for heart health, but many people find them difficult to stick with. Consistent yoga practice might be a good blood pressure–lowering alternative. Yoga is low impact, promotes social interaction, and is more enjoyable to some people than vigorous exercise.
This article first appeared in UC Berkeley Health After 50.