Want to Keep Your Memory Sharp?
Most of us do.
For years, experts have told us to eat brain food, play crosswords and sudoku and avoid stress. All very good suggestions of course, but a new study funded by the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation is showing that yoga and meditation are more effective at preventing Alzheimers’ disease than anything else.
People who practiced yoga regularly were also less likely to be depressed, anxious AND were better able to cope with stress, according to the study.
To come to their conclusions, scientists recruited 25 volunteers over the age of 55 who had reported memory issues such as forgetting names and faces, missing appointments or misplacing belongings.
They split them into two groups, with one carrying out memory exercises and the other yoga and meditation.
They found that after three months both were equally good at improving verbal memory skills, which help people remember names and word lists.
But the spiritual path provided added benefits in the form of enhanced visual-spatial memory. This comes into play when recalling locations and navigating while walking or driving, and helps reduce anxiety.
Eleven participants received weekly hour-long memory training sessions and performed exercises ranging from crossword puzzles to computer-based tasks.
The other 14 were given an hour-long yoga session once a week and practiced Kirtan Kriya meditation at home for 20 minutes every day.
Lead researcher Harris Eyre, from the University of Adelaide, said: “Historically and anecdotally, yoga has been thought to be beneficial in ageing well, but this is the scientific demonstration of that benefit.”
Professor Lavretsky said: “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.”
The study was funded by the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, based in Tuscon, Arizona.
It was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.