Yoga Benefits African-American Heart Failure Patients

Benefits include improvements in cardiovascular endurance, quality of life and flexibility
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- When yoga is added to standard medical care for African-American heart failure patients, they experience benefits including improvements in cardiovascular endurance, quality of life, flexibility, and inflammatory markers, according to a study published in the April issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Paula R. Pullen, Ph.D., of Georgia State University in Atlanta, and colleagues randomized 40 patients (38 African-American, one Asian and one Caucasian) with systolic or diastolic heart failure to a yoga therapy program (16 supervised sessions over an eight- to 10-week period) or control group, with all patients following a home walking program.

The researchers found that the patients participating in the yoga therapy program in addition to standard medical care had improvements in cardiovascular endurance, treadmill time, and flexibility compared with the control group. The yoga therapy group also had decreases in inflammatory markers and increases in quality-of-life scores.

"This study of the effect of yoga on exercise capacity, inflammatory markers, and quality of life in predominately African-American heart failure patients indicates that yoga may provide a beneficial adjunctive therapy and may be safely added to standard medical care under similar circumstances," the authors write.

Hugger Mugger Yoga Products L.L.C. donated yoga products for the study.

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