Yoga and cycling are equally as effective at reducing your chances of heart attack and stroke, researchrers from the US and the Netherlands claim.
The claim was made in a paper published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, and the team from Harvard and Erasmus Universities say that “Yoga may provide the same benefits in risk-factor reduction as traditional physical activity such as cycling or brisk walking.”
The team of researchers don't define cycling in their claims, so we don't know if they mean cycling in the brisk walk-equivalent, riding around town sense, or the gut-busting mountain climbing sense.
Yet the health benefits of both are nothing to scoff at. Heart related illnesses kill 160,000 people a year in the UK, which accounts for around one in four of all deaths.
The study measured body mass index and systolic blood pressure, as well as levels of LDL and HDL - also known as bad and good cholesterol.
A sample of 37 randomised control trials, involving 2,768 subjects, and found that in all but two of them, those who practiced Yoga benefited from the practice in a measurable capacity over those who didn’t exercise.
The paper concluded by saying that the review “demonstrates the potential of yoga to have an impact on concrete, physiological outcomes that represent some of the greatest health burdens today.”
There’s no doubt that this research is good news for cyclists and non-cyclists alike, especially those with musculoskeletal problems, and the elderly, who struggle to exercise regularly.
But it’s easy to overlook the fact that Yoga can have huge health and physical benefits even for those of us who are able get in the saddle every day, as our editor Tony found out in 2012:
Running Tony through his paces was Karen Burt, who studied Yoga under the world renowned Mukunder Stiles, from the Yoga Therapy Center in California.
We have a full range of Yoga videos if you want to try it out and see the segment-time benefits for yourself. Even if you just enjoyed this video for the spectacle, you’ll be able to find the full series, here.