Forget the Crosswords!

February 6, 2017

Many people do crossword puzzles to challenge their brains and, hopefully, prevent Alzheimer’s. A lot of research has questioned the benefits. A recent study compared such brain-teasing activities to yoga and meditation, and found that the latter are more effective.

Researchers in Australia gave one group of adults weekly hour-long memory training sessions. They performed exercises ranging from crossword puzzles to computer-based tasks.

A second group was given an hour-long yoga session once a week. They also practiced Kirtan Kriya meditation at home for 20 minutes every day.

After three months the scientists saw similar verbal memory improvements in both groups of volunteers. However, visual-spatial memory was increased to a greater degree in the yoga-meditation group.   Participants doing yoga and meditation were also less likely to be depressed and anxious, and were better able to cope with stress. Mood enhancement is important because of the emotional difficulties involved in coming to terms with cognitive impairment.

Researchers have established that exercise, in general, is an effective tool to lower our risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s.   Now, a regular practice of yoga and meditation could also offer a simple, safe and low-cost solution to improving your brain fitness.

 

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