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The objectives of this review paper are (I) the analysis based on previous studies of whether hatha yoga exercises fulfil the recommendation for the level of physical activity recommended by the WHO and ACSM; (II) the recommendation for how to arrange weekly hatha yoga practice, which can be considered a health-related physical activity; and (III) the analysis of the benefits of a regular hatha yoga workout in view of scientific studies, in particular regard to the prevention of diseases of civilization and improvement in health-related physical fitness.
Based on previous studies, only dynamic Sun Salutations of yoga exercises (Suryanamaskar) are moderate-intensity physical activity, and therefore must be performed at least 5 days a week in 30 min duration or 150 min per week meet the recommendation. Hatha yoga meets the recommendations regarding types of exercise, because it includes poses improving muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and balance. Dynamic sequences of Sun Salutation can be regarded as aerobic exercises. Regular hatha yoga training may be an intervention for the primary and secondary prevention of diseases of civilization. Yoga exercises were found to produce reductions in diastolic blood pressure; to improve cardiorespiratory system and metabolic parameters; to correct posture; to reduce back pain; to prevent obesity; to lower blood glucose level; to be beneficial for stress and depression; to relieve perceived pain; and to improve functional fitness and perceived quality of life. Hatha yoga also improves physical fitness, especially in regards to health-related fitness.
In the context of the recommendation and reported benefits, hatha yoga is the health-related physical activity.
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