Hot yoga is a superheated fitness trend that hasn’t lost its steam.
The practice involves yoga in rooms where the temperature’s been upped to a sweltering 100-plus degrees. It’s earned converts owing to the pliability muscles have at warmer temperatures and the overall challenge of the practice. It may also find a fan base among those with high blood pressure.
Researchers at Texas State University found that three hourlong sessions of hot yoga a week for three months was enough to lower the systolic blood pressure of pre- and hypertensive people by 5mmHg (from 126 to 121) while also reducing stress levels.
“Lowering blood pressure by as little as 2mmHg has been shown to reduce risk for heart disease and stroke, so it’s significant,” says study author Stacy Hunter. It’s not clear if the benefit comes from the heat or the stress reduction of yoga itself. Although the findings are preliminary, Hunter is optimistic: “Hot yoga is an effective way to lower blood pressure without medication and a great preventive strategy.”
Maybe it’s time to break out the sweat-proof mat.
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