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Yoga and Brain Fitness

Regular practice of yoga may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease, study finds.

HealthDay Brain Fitness

Adding a little downward dog to your life may help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a small new study.

Researchers found that yoga helped minimize cognitive decline and when combined with meditation worked as well as memory training exercises in helping people with mild cognitive impairment. The team recruited 25 adults who reported issues with their memory. 14 were asked to take a one-hour weekly yoga class and practice meditation at home for 20 minutes each day, The others received one-hour weekly memory enhancement training and spent 20 minutes a day performing memory exercises. After 12 weeks, both groups saw similar improvement in their verbal memory skills, like remembering names and lists of words… but those who practiced yoga experienced greater improvement in their visuospatial skills, which are used to recall locations and navigate while walking or driving. Yoga and meditation also helped reduce depression and anxiety, and improve coping skills.

The senior author of the study says, "If you or your relatives are trying to improve your memory or offset the risk for developing memory loss or dementia, a regular practice of yoga and meditation could be a simple, safe and low-cost solution to improving your brain fitness."