Researchers from the University of California have found that inner peace and a flexible body are not the only valuable benefits of yoga and meditation, as these can also do wonders for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Helen Lavretsky, the study’s senior author and a professor in residence in UCLA’s department of psychiatry, said memory training was comparable to yoga with meditation in terms of improving memory and interestingly yoga provided a broader benefit than memory training as it also helped with mood, anxiety and coping skills.
He added that people with mild cognitive impairment are two-and-a-half times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
“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,” Lavretsky said.
Explaining the benefits of yoga, Harris Eyre, the study’s lead author, said historically and anecdotally, yoga has been thought to be beneficial in aging well, but this is the scientific demonstration of that benefit.
After conducting experiments, the researchers ruled out those who had practiced yoga and meditation had better improvements than the other subjects in visual-spatial memory skills, which come into play for recalling locations and navigating while walking or driving.
The study is published in the journal of Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.