Downward dogs and child pose may not just help you relax and keep you limber, but may also help with mild cognitive impairment, according to a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Researchers from UCLA and Australia’s University of Adelaide compared yoga and meditation against memory training, which has often been considered the best way to manage mild cognitive impairment.
Participants had all shown signs of mild cognitive impairment, reporting problems with their memory such as easily misplacing things, or forgetting names, faces or appointments. Participants were divided into two groups. One group performed daily memory exercises and the other practiced yoga and meditation.
Although both groups had similar improvements in verbal memory skills, the skills that are needed for remembering names, it was the participants in the group that practiced yoga and meditation that showed better improvements in visual-spatial memory skills, which help with recalling locations and navigating.
In addition, participants in the yoga and meditation group also showed bigger improvements in levels of depression, anxiety, coping skills and resilience to stress, all of which are especially important when coming to terms with the onset of cognitive impairment.
Aside from keeping your mind sharp, other benefits of yoga include:
• Increased flexibility
• Builds muscle strength
• Improves posture
• Improves blood pressure
• Improves balance
• Is relaxing
• Improves sleep
• Makes you happier
If you have never tried a yoga class, you should. Anybody can do yoga. Although, if you are a beginner, it is best to seek advice from your health care practitioner, as some poses are not recommended for people who are new to yoga or have blood pressure issues, or for women who are pregnant.
Photo from here, with thanks.