The effects of physical activity and yoga on Carotid artery stiffness
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Carotid artery stiffness is an accepted marker of cardiovascular disease. Aerobic activity is associated with reduced stiffness. Yoga’s effect on stiffness is unknown. The hypotheses were that stiffness wouldn’t differ between yoga and aerobic subjects but yoga subjects would have lower stiffness than sedentary subjects, stiffness measures are reliable, and ECG is a valid measure of pulse wave velocity (PWV). Stiffness was measured by distensibility (DC) and PWV. Physical activity was determined by a questionnaire. The yoga and aerobic group had no difference in stiffness (DC, p = 0.26 and PWV, p = 0.20). The yoga group had lower stiffness than sedentary subjects (DC and PWV, p < 0.001). The yoga and aerobic group had similar physical activity levels. Physical activity was the best predictor of stiffness. The yoga group was more physically active than sedentary subjects. Stiffness measures were reliable (CV=2.5%) and similar 2left to right (CV=2.2%). PWV (ECG and carotid-femoral) correlated highly R=0.93. It was concluded that stiffness was related to physical activity, and an independent effect of yoga on stiffness couldn’t be detected. Stiffness measures were reproducible and left and right sides were consistent with each other.