Sticking with yoga: Practice pays off in decreased stress

A University of Ohio study suggests that women who stick with yoga practice (at least twice a week for two years or more) enjoy biochemically measurable health benefits.

The study compared longtime yoga students with newbies (involved in yoga for only a few weeks). Both groups had their endocrine responses measured before and after yoga practice, treadmill walking, television viewing and known stress events.

The novices’ blood was found to have, on average, 41 percent higher levels of the cytokine interleukin-6 than that of the experts. High interleukin-6 has been associated with heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. The novices were also tested for a protein that is a marker for inflammation; some were found to have levels of that protein nearly five times greater than those of the women who had been doing yoga over the long term.

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