One of the best ways to ensure heart health is to engage in exercises that focus on the mind and body. Most of us think that a good physical health is the only indicator of a healthy heart.

However, research shows that our mood, stress levels and general outlook in life have major effects not only to the body but the heart as well.

Simply put, preventing heart disease requires you to exercise regularly, make smarter food choices and engage in activities that reduce stress.

Here are three mind-body exercises that can improve heart health:

1 -Yoga

Hollywood celebs like Jennifer Aniston, Adam Levine and Michelle Williams are all hooked on yoga for a good reason. This practice relaxes the mind and body by using different disciplines, poses and breathing techniques. One of the key goals of yoga is to help a person achieve a state of peacefulness. Practicing yoga regularly can help you manage stress and anxiety effectively.

People who lived in the ancient times used yoga to improve their tranquility and spiritual insight. Today, people are also seeing its other benefits to one’s health. According to some studies, yoga can help lower blood pressure, increase lung capacity, promote blood circulation and improve respiratory function and heart health.

2 – Pilates

This form of exercise was developed by Joseph Pilates. His desire to overcome physical limitations through physical fitness gave birth to the concept of Pilates- leave the body invigorated rather than drained of energy. The main objective of this discipline is to balance flexibility and strength. It focuses on uniting the mind, body and spirit through natural movements.

Unlike traditional cardiac rehabilitation programs, the exercises involved in Pilates significantly improve functional capacity in patients with heart failure according to some studies. A 16-week study was conducted to prove the effectiveness of Pilates in improving heart health. Patients with heart failure did Pilates in combination with 30 minutes of aerobic exercises. The result was lowered resting heart rate and improved oxygen levels in the blood.

3 – Tai Chi

This exercise is also known as moving meditation. It combines slow, controlled movements with mental concentration to help you focus. Tai Chi challenges the body and it improves life energy flow. Research suggests that this form of exercise can improve heart function. It can also lower blood pressure and stress levels.

Tai Chi is perfect for those who are looking for a low-impact exercise that do not put a lot of stress to the muscles and joints. It is generally safe for all ages and fitness levels. You do not need any equipment to practice Tai Chi and you can be indoors or outdoors.