Yoga Can Improve Mental Capacity in Older Adults

A study published this week in The Journals of Gerontology showed that older adults who practiced yoga three times a week for eight weeks improved their performance when tested on their brains' executive function. Generally this isn't surprising, as most exercise is usually shown to be beneficial to mental capacity.

However, the study also included a stretching and strengthening program, which did not result in improved mental performance. 118 people, averaging the age of 62, were split into two groups. The one that participated in a one-hour Hatha yoga class three times a week improved significantly in the tests for executive function, particularly in the area of working memory.

Hatha is form of yoga ideal for older adults and beginners, which focuses on gentle poses, focusing on breath and being present. Many other types of yoga are likely also beneficial. It's also a great way to incorporate strength, flexibility and mental discipline into your running routine.

What are your experiences with yoga? Do you think you have improved your memory since starting?

Tony has been a runner for over three decades, competing in cross country and track in high school and college, and road races for various clubs. He's served as team captain for several Corporate Challenge teams at YMCA of the USA, and has informally coached many friends over the years.

Tags: This Week in Runners, Y, YMCA, Running, Yoga, mental capacity, memory

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