Sunday 11 December 2016

Is Bikram yoga bad for the heart?

Published 18/05/2015 | 02:30

Warning: Bikram yoda can raise internal temperatures and heart rate
Warning: Bikram yoda can raise internal temperatures and heart rate

Bikram yoga classes, which are practised in a hot room with high humidity for around 90 minutes, have a big following across Ireland.

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A new study has now warned that these classes can raise internal temperatures and heart rates to levels that may be dangerous for some people.

A key message for people taking part in the classes is to stay hydrated, the researchers from the American Council on Exercise advise. The dramatic increases in heart rate and core temperature are alarming when you consider that there is very little movement, and therefore little cardiovascular training, going on during class, they said.

They looked at 20 healthy volunteers between the ages of 28 and 67. All the men and women regularly practiced Bikram yoga. They swallowed a core body temperature sensor, and wore a heart-rate monitor The researchers found that many of the volunteers' core temperatures reached higher than 103° F. One man in the study had a core temperature that was over 104° F.

None of the men or women had symptoms of heat intolerance, but the researchers note that heat illness and heat stroke can happen when core temperatures reach 104° F.

"Although there are potential benefits associated with practicing Bikram yoga, the potential for heat intolerance among some students, including those who may not yet be acclimatised to the heat, should not be entirely overlooked.

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