Study: Yoga Is Better For Your Brain Than Aerobic Exercise

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File photo of students in a yoga class.  (credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

File photo of students in a yoga class. (credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

URBANA, Ill. (CBS St. Louis) – Twenty minutes of yoga is better for your brain than exercising vigorously for the same amount of time, a new study claims.

Researchers were able to prove that a short, single session of yoga can significantly improve memory, speed, and focus. Those involved in the study additionally observed that aerobic exercise did not positively effect study participants to the same degree.

According to the UK Telegraph, 30 undergraduate female students from the University of Illinois participated in the study, which reportedly involved 20 minutes of seated, standing, and supine yoga postures. It concluded with meditation and deep breathing.

The students were also asked to walk or jog on a treadmill for 20 minutes.

Researchers then asked the women to maintain a suitable speed on the treadmill, with the goal of sustaining 60 to 70 percent of her maximum heart rate throughout the session.

The researchers were surprised to find out that the females showed more improvement in their reaction times and accuracy after yoga than after the aerobic workout, the Telegraph learned.

“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,” lead-author Professor Neha Gothe was quoted as saying. “Maybe these processes translate beyond yoga practice when you try to perform mental tasks or day-to-day activities.”

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