YogaMany specialists would agree to the fact that brain function decline and dementia like brain disorders should be considered among the most dangerous tendencies in public health care for the last decade. The number of people, especially aging people, who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other type of dementia has been firmly increasing, and according to the estimations this tendency will tend to continue. That is why not only looking for effective ways to slow down our brain function decline, but also raising public awareness about the problem is very important. That is why plenty of related public programs are initiated, and plenty of studies and researches are being conducted in order to look at the problem closer and inform the people about the ways to prevent the brain function decline.

It is considered that leading a healthy lifestyle, following the rules of healthy eating and doing plenty of physical exercise, as well as mastering effective stress management techniques and doing some easy brain exercises can be a good strategy for dementia like brain disorder prevention. At the same time, as the findings of the latest study published earlier this month in some scientific journals have shown, choosing yoga over physical exercise can be even better solution for brain disorder prevention. This is the conclusion of an expert team led by Professor Neha Gothe, a kinesiology specialist at Wayne State University in Detroit. The researchers are convinced that just a 20-minute session of yoga (like Hatha yoga or other type) a day can work better to improve memory and boost brain function compared to the same amount of daily moderate exercise.

The study involved testing the effects of a 20-minute yoga sessions (including practicing a few standing and seated postures, breathing exercises, etc.) with the help of 30 female undergraduate students of the University of Illinois. Some of the participants were asked to do yoga exercises, some of them were involved in aerobic exercises like walking outside and walking on treadmill indoors. Boost Brain FunctionAt that, the intensity and speed of exercises were closely monitored by the scientists: most of the participants worked at the most preferable speed and with the intensity equal to 60-70 per cent of the maximum recommended heart rate for the health condition of the participant. After the exercises, either physical of yoga, the participant were offered some memory tests of various kinds, some tests to monitor cognitive skills of the participants, and other related tasks.

It turned out that those participants who were assigned to yoga sessions have demonstrated much better results compared to those participants who were asked to do physical exercises. In particular, the yoga group showed much better abilities to focus and concentrate, much better reaction time, as well as scored much higher in inhibitory control and memory tests. Also, yoga group participants showed better result in the tests directed on evaluating the abilities to find, process and analyze information, learning ability evaluation tests, and other tests. “The breathing and meditative exercises aim at calming the mind and body and keeping distracting thoughts away while you focus on your body, posture or breath,” the study leader underlined.

The experts are convinced that the effects of yoga on our mental health are very lasting and go far beyond the gym. According to the scientists, meditation and breathing exercises are among the best stress management techniques to help us clear our mind from bad thoughts and emotions, reduce anxiety and nervous tension, which leads to improved abilities to focus and perform in mental tasks. “This study is extremely timely and the results will enable yoga researchers to power and design their interventions in the future. We see similar promising findings among older adults as well,” Prof Edward McAuley, one more expert in the research group, said to the media. He is said that more studies are to follow to examine benefits of yoga not only for our cognitive, but for physical health as well.

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

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