In order to keep dementia and Alzheimer's away in the future, people are probably already doing what they can to get plenty of sleep and exercise, both proven ways to protect the brain. Now a new study offers up one more reason to add to your anti-ageing brain plan- gentle yoga.
When you practise yoga, you don’t just move your body, you also get more focused on your breath and mindfully aware of your postures. Other kinds of exercise, like running, make it much easier to get distracted by everything going on around you. But getting distracted during, say, Triangle pose, could cause you to end up kissing the mat.
Stress, being one of the biggest contributors to the ageing process, robs you of precious sleep, increases harmful inflammation, damages your DNA, and even causes wrinkles. According to past research, stress and anxiety have a huge impact on cognitive function, so the relaxation aspect of yoga might also be in play. But yoga can be one of your best stress-busters.
In fact, yoga doesn’t need you to invest a ton of time to reap its rewards. Daily yoga practice, even just 10 minutes a day, can yield a greater benefit than a weekly class because you’re fighting that stress a little at a time.
Do this gentle yoga workout first thing in the morning, and you’ll increase energy, release tension, and start the day off right.
Stretches inner thighs and groin muscles; traditionally thought to soothe menopause symptoms; reduces fatigue.
Sit tall with soles of feet together, knees bent out to sides. Bring heels as close to the pelvis as comfortably possible. Grasp big toe of each foot with first and second fingers and thumb; hold here, sitting tall.
Stretches spine, chest, abdomen; relaxes lower back.
Lie on back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and arms at sides with palms down. Press into soles of feet and lift hips. Slide yoga block under tailbone, then allows the body to rest on the block. Remain here, breathing evenly. To come out of the pose, press into feet, lift hips, remove the block, lower back to the floor, then gently roll up to a seated position.
Stretches hips, thighs, and back.
From a kneeling position, sit back on heels and open knees about hip-width. Bend forward, lowering upper body between thighs and forehead toward floor; bring arms in front of the body, palms down.
To make the most of yoga's cognitive-boosting benefits you don't need a lot of time to reap these rewards, so long as you stay consistent.