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Health & Spirit

Yoga brain

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

In 2006, A&W Root Beer premiered an ad featuring a job-seeker talking with a potential employer. The boss's nameplate read "Mr. Dumass," and throughout the commercial the interviewee pronounced his name in a very inappropriate way. At the end, the boss man says, "It's pronounced 'Dew-moss.'" The tag line: "That's thickheaded, but not as thickheaded as A&W. And sometimes it's good to be thickheaded!"

It's true! As you age, your cerebral cortex may become thinner, and that's associated with cognitive decline. So, staying thickheaded is a good thing.

Now research from Brazil reveals that doing yoga might be a smart way to accomplish that! Looking at the brains of healthy women age 60 and older who were life-long practitioners of yoga (they did it twice a week and averaged nearly 15 years of practice), the researchers found that they had greater thickness in the left prefrontal cortex, which affects memory and attention, when compared with the brains of healthy older women who'd never practiced yoga.

The results, published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, suggest that doing yoga for the long term not only encourages flexibility, dispels stress, eases depression and builds muscle, but it can change brain structure and protect you from cognitive decline. One of the researchers said that may be because, "Yoga has a cognitive component, in which attention and concentration are important."

To get started, explore the varieties of the discipline, from chair yoga to the highly individualized kripalu. Go to sharecare.com and search for "which type of yoga" to understand your choices.

 

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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2017 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
 

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