Study: Yoga Boosts Brainpower

Better than aerobic exercise


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Good news for yogis. Just 20 minutes of hatha yoga improves your ability to focus and use new information better than aerobic exercise, a study in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health reports.

Researchers enlisted 30 college-age subjects and gave them a series of tests to measure their cognitive performance. Each subject was tested three times: without exercising or performing yoga, after 20 minutes of yoga, or after 20 minutes of jogging. While previous studies have shown that aerobic exercise can boost mental performance, the yogis saw the bigger boost.

“The breathing and meditative exercises aim at calming the mind and body and keeping distracting thoughts away while you focus on your body, posture or breath,” study lead Neha Gothe announced. “Maybe these processes translate beyond yoga practice when you try to perform mental tasks or day-to-day activities.”

A study last month found that twice-weekly sessions of yoga can reduce high blood pressure, while another published earlier this year showed yoga may alleviate depression.