For decades, yoga has been hailed as a vastly beneficial form of exercise,
especially for seniors. It allows them to improve flexibility, balance,
overall strength, and mood. This low impact form of exercise even helps
ward off conditions like osteoporosis by keeping bones strong and healthy
as well as alleviating many of the aches and pains commonly associated
with aging. In addition to all of these incredible health benefits, studies
have recently shown that yoga might also improve memory and slow cognitive decline.
The Relationship Between Yoga and the Brain
Yoga promotes the union between one’s mind, body, and spirit, as
the name itself suggests. Yoga is a Sanskrit word, which means “to
join” or “to unite.” Generally, individuals who practice
yoga have a more calm and relaxed mind, resulting in a better attention
span and memory. Seniors who incorporate yoga into their workout routine
might be able to reap several benefits related to brain health and memory,
Brain Function and Memory: Studies show that yoga can improve how quickly the brain is able to process
information. In fact, it is as beneficial as brain games, which are also
geared toward improving overall brain function. How is this possible?
Yoga is believed to increase the production of a protein referred to as
a brain-derived neuropath growth factor. This protein stimulates the growth
of connections between the brain’s neurons.
Boosts One’s Mental Health: Yoga can have a similar effect on mental health as one might experience
while using antidepressants or psychotherapy. Studies have shown that
those who practice yoga regularly tend to report less depression and anxiety.
It Provides an Opportunity for Socializing: A key role in the overall health and well-being of a senior is the act
of remaining socially active. Joining a yoga class can provide seniors
with the social opportunities they need, adding another benefit to this
mentally stimulating exercise.
Reduced Stress Levels: The area in the brain that is used for memory and learning, which is known
as the hippocampus, is vulnerable to high cortisol levels. Cortisol is
the stress hormone and, when one suffers from high levels of it, he or
she can experience hypertension, suppressed immunity, bone loss, high
blood sugar, high blood pressure, and many more unpleasant side effects.
Yoga is a form of meditation, which exercises parts of the brain, managing
stress levels and lowering cortisol levels that can compromise one’s
ability to store memories or learn new things.
If you are new to yoga, start by taking a beginner’s class that is
intended for seniors. If you experience any discomfort, discuss it with
the instructor and ask if the movements can be modified for your specific needs.
Hampton Memory Care
For almost 30 years, Mount Carmel Assisted Living, a Hampton Alzheimer’s
care facility, has been operating and caring for those suffering from
Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other similar memory loss diseases. Our
team focuses on taking a holistic approach to memory care and offers our
residents a safe and living environment that is designed to feel like
home. Our residents have immediate access to exceptional certified caregivers
and nurses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
To learn more about the services we offer, we encourage you to come in
for a tour and meet with us. Contact us today at (770) 824-3385 to get
in touch with our director.