Yoga can Prevent Atrial Fibrillation from Recurring

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Previously, we have mentioned that regular exercise can prevent atrial fibrillation and its associated complications such as heart failure.  

Now, a new study, presented at the American College of Cardiology 2011 Scientific Sessions, suggested that taking a 45-minute yoga class three times a week can reduce the episodes of atrial fibrillation (AF) by 50%! 

The study enrolled 49 patients who paroxysmal AF.  Patients were asked to undergo a three-month control phase in which they could engage in any type of physical activity they were previously accustomed to doing. 

The patients then underwent a three-month study phase where they participated in a supervised yoga program consisting of breathing exercises, yoga postures, meditation, and relaxation. They were also encouraged to practice the exercises at home on a daily basis. 

Results showed that during the yoga-intervention phase, the number of episodes of AF was significantly reduced—from a mean of 3.8 to 2.1. In addition, patients also reported a “drastic” improvement in quality of life, with significant reductions in anxiety and depression scores. 

The investigators believed that yoga might have benefits effects on the sympathetic and parasympathetic tone that precede atrial fibrillation.  

If you are thinking of thinking of doing yoga or other exercise to supplement your atrial fibrillation medications, be sure not to overstretch yourself.  Any exercises that are too strenuous can precipitate atrial fibrillation.  Also, remember to continue to take your anti-arrhythmic and anti-coagulation medication according to doctor’s direction. 

Source: Presented at the American College of Cardiology 2011 Scientific Sessions. 

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