Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is one of the leading cause of death. In 2008, 30% of all global deaths was attributed to cardiovascular diseases.
Cardiovascular diseases are diseases of the heart or blood vessels. When doctors use the term cardiovascular disease, they usually mean diseases of the heart or blood vessels that are caused by fatty deposit within the inside lining of arteries.
CAUSES OF AN UNHEALTHY HEART
The underlying causes of CVD vary. Also, not everyone is equally prone to heart disease. There are three major categories of risk factors that put you at an increased risk for developing heart disease at some point in your life.
1. Unchangeable Risk Factors
These risk factors are conditions that lie beyond our power. We know that there is a positive correlation between age and CVD. This means that when we are older, we are more likely to get heart disease. Another example is family history. There are some genetic predespositions that can increase the risk for CVD.
2. Treatable Risk Factors
CVD has some risk factors that are treatable. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are the main risk factors in this category. It is estimated that high blood pressure results in 13% of CVD deaths.
3. Lifestyle Related Risk Factors
These risk factors are created by our lifestyle and can be prevented or changed. Examples are:
Lack of physical activity
An unhealthy diet
PREVENT CVD & KEEP YOUR HEART HEALTHY!
It is estimated that 90% of CVD can be prevented by addressing the risk factors that are treatable or lifestyle related.
While Yoga Therapy would address all aspects of the daily life, there are three main categories that we need to tackle to prevent cardiovascular diesease with yoga.
A helathy and Yoga-friendly diet encourages a healthy body and mind. A Yogic diet is a plant-based diet full of veggies, high fibers, fruits, and pulses. It is good for the blood, healthy aging, and reduces cholesterol and blood pressure.
A Yogic diet excludes smoking, the use of alcohol, stimulants, and white sugar. All these products have a negative influence on the health of your heart.
Some forms of cardiovascular disease are caused or aggravated by emotional and physical stress. Reducing your levels of stress and taking care of your emotional health are important factors in preventing cardiovascular disease.
Yoga practice is known for its stress-reducing properties. Not only that, yoga is also known to reeducate the nervous system so that it becomes more efficient in handling stressful situations.
Studies have proven that people who are physically active have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases compared with inactive people.
Yoga offers a form of safe and gentle exercise that can be performed at different levels of intensity and difficulty. It is a great gateway for anyone who wants to become more active, and increase their strength and flexibility.
YOGA EXERCISE FOR A HEALTHY HEART
Now you might ask yourself what type of exercise is most beneficial if you want to prevent CVD.
All types of exercise can be divided into two categories, depending on how the body generates the energy for the exercise, and the effects it has on the body.
Anaerobic exercise is exercise that requires a sudden intense activation of the muscles for a short duration. Examples are sprinting and weight lifting.
Aerobic exercise is low to hight intensity sustained exercise. Examples include walking, jogging, cycling, and dynamic yoga. This type of exercise improves your aerobic endurance (you become more fit) and is associated with an increased health and reduced risk of CVD.
It is this second type of exercise that we need to engage in to reduce our risk for CVD. Aerobic exercise in Yoga consists of dynamic practices such as Sun Salutations, Vinyasa Yoga, and Hatha Flow. You want to make sure to use all your major muscle groups, and include some extra heart and chest openers.
If it comes to cardiovascular prevention, meditative styles of yoga won't do the job! For a healthy heart, you need to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, minimum 5 days per week.
You can monitor the intensity at which you should exercise easily. Watch out for the following signs:
You should be feeling warm and slightly out of breath
You should be able to breathe fairly comfortably and rhythmically throughout all phases of a workout
You should be able to talk continuously
A daily dynamic yoga practice of minimum 30 minutes at a moderate intensity has the power to prevent cardiovascular disease together with a healthy lifestyle.
If you are already suffereing from CVD or have other medical conditions, do not follow the advise in this article. The information given here applies to healthyindividuals who are interested in preventing CVD.