Yoga against dementia
Practicing yoga is more effective than doing crossword puzzles in reducing the risk of developing dementia.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is described as noticeable changes in cognitive function, for example a decrease in memory and thinking ability. A long-term study carried out by the Alzheimer’s Association suggest that 10-20 percent of adults over the age of 64 are likely to have MCI, of which 6-15 percent develop some type of dementia each year. It must be noted that the symptoms of MCI are nowhere near as severe as those of dementia. This means that, MCI does not stop an individual’s day-to-day routine, nor does it question their independence. However, symptoms can become worse with time and can therefore lead to dementia.
Up until recently medical experts recommend that people with symptoms of MCI partake in mentally stimulating activities, such as crossword or Sudoku puzzles to reduce the risk of developing dementia. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggests that Yoga may be more effective than crossword puzzles in reducing the risk of developing dementia. The study took a group of 25 volunteers over the age of 55 who had begun experiencing the symptoms of MCI. Eleven participants engaged in weekly-hour long memory training sessions, such as cross words and Sudoku puzzles, while the other fourteen participants were given an hour-long yoga session once a week and meditation exercises to carry out for 20 minutes at home every day.
The results showed that after the three months had passed both groups showed equal amounts of improvement at verbal memory skills, which helped them remember people’s names and word lists. However, the volunteers who had taken part in the yoga sessions once a week showed a vast improvement in visual-spatial memory, which allowed them to recall locations and navigate while walking and driving, compared to those who had done the memory training.
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