Cross-word puzzles, check.
Yoga? Time to get your mat! Practicing yoga may boost brain health.
Researchers recruited a group of older “yoginis” (that’s yoga-speak for female practitioners) who’d been doing the ancient form of exercise long-term and performed brain scans on them.
Compared with a control group of older women who were similarly active but did not practice yoga (or any other contemplative practice, such as meditation), the yoginis showed greater thickness in the part of their cerebral cortex that governs attention and memory.
Cognitive decline is marked by thinning of this region.
So in this case, being “thick” is a good thing! “Yoga is certainly a physical practice, but what sets it apart from other forms of exercise is the emphasis on awareness and the breath,” says Cleveland Clinic yoga program manager Judi Bar.
“Slowing and deepening the breath activates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, which helps reduce anxiety and stress.
This relaxation response benefits brain function by calming your body and focusing your mind.” If you’re new to yoga, find a gentle beginner class with an experienced teacher.
Source: Greater Cortical Thickness in Elderly Female Yoga Practitioners-A Cross-Sectional Study.