Yoga and Cardiac Rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation is a specialized branch of rehabilitation medicine which deals with optimizing the physical function in cardiac patients. It is generally a long-term comprehensive program provided in outpatient settings that involves timely medical evaluation, cardiac risk factor modification, prescribed exercise, education and counseling. There may be different phases of in the rehabilitation program depending on the patient profile, and is customized accordingly.

A person who is to undergo cardiac rehabilitation must understand that the glue of this program is exercise, and there are a number of programs that are fast evolving where all aspects of cardiac care are delivered. A typical program would include weight loss programs, nutritional therapies, management of lipid abnormalities with diet and medication, diabetes and stress management and blood pressure control.

Mixed race woman practicing yoga in park

While it is true that a person under a program has to follow a structured plan, and the plan is tailored to each patient’s need, it would be not be such a bad idea to take up yoga exercise. Yoga is spiritual practice that includes forms of physical exercise that is totally unconventional, and uses the breath, mind and body to re-energize the individual. Not only does yoga offer a physically active regimen, but it disciplines the physical, mental and spiritual health. Yoga is unique in the sense that it includes forms of breathing and meditation techniques, and teaches you ways to move your body in newer ways. It also offers excellent health benefits by enabling one to develop strength, flexibility and balance. The various forms of yoga stretches, commonly known as “asanas” work very gently on the body to stretch the muscles as well as all the soft tissues. Unlike other forms of exercise, one can see benefits within a very short span of time. And it has long been practiced to keep the heart rate and blood pressure under control, and also to decrease triglycerides and cholesterol and boosting the immune system.

Modernization has led to many discoveries, and in a feat to provide the best care for cardiac patients, current medical researchers have studied the effects of yoga and shown that it can help cardiac rehabilitation patients gain greatly by improving the functional capacity and quality of life, reduce risk factors and create a definite sense of well-being and an optimistic view about life. Like every other rehabilitation programs, though the long-term success is directly related to patient compliance, there is no doubt that incorporating yoga exercise coupled with cultivation of other health disciplines such as quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, and keeping your lipid levels in check, there could be significant reduction in risk factors such as another heart attack, stroke, sudden death and mortality and a sense of well being both physically and spiritually.

And the good news is that yoga has intrigued and influenced the medical world due to its definite positive effect on health in general and cardiovascular diseases in particular.

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