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Secret Effects of Doing Yoga, Says Science

This gentle workout is an om-azing way to benefit your whole body wellness.

You likely know that getting regular exercise is essential for good health. However, that doesn't mean you have to endure grueling runs on the treadmill or heavy weightlifting sessions to see significant improvements in your wellbeing. Research suggests that yoga is a highly effective means of improving your overall health—often in ways that might surprise you. Read on to discover the secret side effects of doing yoga, according to science. And if you want to slim down, check out these 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.

Yoga may help lower your blood pressure.

female physician checking male patients blood pressure at clinic

Millions of Americans struggle with hypertension, but it's not just changing your diet or taking medication that can help.

According to a 2019 study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, among a group of 3,517 middle-aged participants across 49 controlled trials, practicing yoga that included breathing techniques or meditation three or more times a week significantly lowered individuals' blood pressure as compared to those who did not incorporate this exercise regimen into their regular routine.

RELATED: The 5 Best Yoga Moves for Back Pain, According to Experts

Yoga may help improve your eating habits.

30-something woman and man and a young child eating salad at home
Shutterstock / wavebreakmedia

Your exercise habits may be the key to improving your eating habits.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, individuals who regularly practiced yoga were found to have more mindful eating habits than non-practitioners.

A 2018 study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity also found that young adults who regularly practiced yoga ate more fruits and vegetables and consumed fewer snack foods, fewer sugar-sweetened beverages, and ate fast food less frequently than their non-practicing counterparts.

Yoga may help you lose weight.

woman weighing herself overweight on scale

While your average gentle yoga class may not leave you dripping with sweat, that doesn't mean it won't be a beneficial step toward losing weight.

In a 2021 study published in the journal Obesity, 50 adults with obesity who incorporated either vinyasa or hatha yoga into their daily routine over a six-month period in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet lost an average of nearly 8 pounds, with the majority of participants indicating their desire to keep doing yoga after the trial ended.

Yoga may make you happier.

happy older woman smiling while doing outdoor yoga in a group

If you want to get in touch with your emotions, rolling out your yoga mat might just be the first step on that journey.

A 2018 study found that, among a group of 1,589 children followed over a two-year period in multiple cities, those who practiced yoga were more emotionally aware and scored higher on measures of happiness than their counterparts who didn't practice yoga.

RELATED: The #1 Worst Yoga Move If You're Over 50, Says an MD

Yoga may slow down aging at the cellular level.

woman doing a plank

You don't need a fountain of youth to turn back the clock on aging—some yoga might be enough to do that for you. According to a 2017 study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, among a group of 96 healthy individuals, practicing yoga and meditation over a 12-week period "significantly reduced the rate of cellular aging," the study's authors reported.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more about Sarah