Hot yoga no healthier than traditional form, say scientists

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Hot yoga no healthier than traditional form, say scientists

The researchers noted that Bikram yoga has a global following, and entails running through a sequence of 26 standard yoga poses in 105-degree heat.

According to researchers from Texas State University and the University of Texas at Austin, USA, a hot yoga style, is no more effective at improving health than the same yoga postures at room temperature.

"The new finding from this investigation was that the heated practice environment did not seem to play a role in eliciting improvements in vascular health with Bikram yoga", Hunter said in a release from the Physiological Society.

Endothelial function refers to the lining of the blood vessels involved in heart disease, which are less able to dilate as people get older. One group performed Bikram yoga in a hot room (three 90-minute sessions a week, for 12 weeks), another group performed it at room temperature for the same amount of time, while a control group didn't do any yoga at all. "This is the first publication to date to show a beneficial effect of the practice in the absence of heat".

Hot yoga no healthier than traditional form, say scientists

Some express concern over hot yoga's dehydrating conditions, but there have been few incidents, with most experts agreeing it a safe exercise regimen with mild risks. "[And] these findings are not sufficient evidence to reach conclusions regarding potential benefits of yoga or Bikram yoga on heart or vascular health", Fonarow said. Any form of exercise which forces them to dilate can increase blood flow, lowering blood pressure.

It can also possibly delay the progression of atherosclerosis a disease in which plaque builds up inside arteries and can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Instead of the heat causing this, the study authors believe stretches and muscular contractions during yoga may be responsible.

Hunter and her team analyzed the effects of hot Bikram versus yoga in thermoneutral conditions in a cohort of 52 sedentary, but healthy, middle-aged adults. Although all groups stayed about the same weight throughout the study, those who did hot yoga showed a small average reduction in the percentage of their body that is fat.

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