EASTERN based exercise practices could reduce the risk of stroke and help survivors recover, according to new research.
A paper by researchers from Monash University, the University of South Australia (UniSA) and the University of Melbourne shows mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) such as yoga and tai chi can reduce known risk factors.
Published in Future Neurology, the paper suggests MBIs can reduce hypertension, fatty acids and blood sugar levels.
UniSA Senior Lecturer Dr Maarten Immink said physical activity played an important role in preventing recurrent stroke but noted many stroke survivors may have limited mobility.
“This is where yoga and tai chi are so helpful. They are gentle, movement-based MBIs which help people focus – a state of mind which stroke survivors often lose – and be active at the same time,” he said.
Researchers analysed 26 studies from 1985-2017 which examined how yoga and tai chi moderated key stroke risk factors, including blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, smoking and alcohol consumption, obesity, anxiety and depression.
UniSA Dean of Health Research Susan Hillier said evidence suggested MBIs regulated blood pressure by teaching people to breathe deeply, balancing and stabilising their autonomic nervous system and lowering their heart rate.
Professor Hillier said nearly one third of adults around the world suffered from high blood pressure..
“Survivors of stroke are at an increased risk of another one – 43 per cent likely within 10 years, 32 per cent within five years and 16 per cent within one year,” she said.
Research also found MBIs could help improve diabetics’ health by increasing blood and oxygen supply to the tissues, helping to produce insulin, and boosting anti-oxidants.