Women can get a brain boost with yoga

Posted June 10, 2013, at 9:22 a.m.

Have a big test coming up? Going to a function where you have to remember a lot of names? Try a short yoga session to help boost your memory.

In a study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, brain function was immediately stimulated after a 20-minute yoga session. Participants in the study performed significantly better after the yoga session compared to after doing cardio for the same amount of time.

The study, conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, had female college undergraduates perform a series of yoga poses while standing, sitting and then lying on the floor, before concluding with a relaxation exercise. For the cardio session, the women walked or jogged on a treadmill, maintaining 60 to 70 percent of their maximum heart rate.

After the exercise sessions, their cognitive functions and reaction time were tested. The women did better on the test following their yoga session. After the cardio workout, their functioning showed no improvement over the baseline.

The researchers, from the university’s department of kinesiology and community health, said similar results also have been found with older adults.

The takeaway? As a trainer, I’ve always said yoga helps you do everything else that you do even better, and apparently that perception has application beyond your physical performance. Adding some yoga to your regimen — even short bouts — definitely can’t hurt, and most likely will have positive effects spilling into other areas of your life.

Wendy Watkins is a Brewer-based personal trainer and writer who got a permanent excuse from gym class when she was in school. Visit her blog at gymclassdropout.bangordailynews.com.

 

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