Yoga boosts cognition of sedentary seniors
Seniors who otherwise weren't very active were able boost their cognitive skills by doing yoga, according to a new study from the University of Illinois. The seniors practiced hatha yoga, which focuses on exercises meant to align the body, three times a week for eight weeks.
The study looked at 108 people between the ages of 55 and 79. A group of 61 participants were assigned to attend hatha yoga classes, while the others took part in non-yoga stretching and toning exercises. The researchers found that at the end of the eight-week study the yoga participants were reporting more accurate scores on tests of information recall, mental flexibility and task-switching than they had before the yoga classes. The participants who took stretching and toning classes saw no cognitive improvement.
Researchers believe the improvements found in the participants’ memory capacity and focus are a result of yoga’s ability to reduce stress and anxiety, which are known to have negative effects on cognitive performance.