The exercise of yoga for dementia patients brings positive benefits to the mind and body. Because the human brain is so adaptable and constantly produces fresh neural connections, using yoga to challenge and train it can enhance memory while minimizing the effects of dementia.
How Yoga Strengthens the Mind
Like other forms of exercise, yoga requires discipline and continual training. It engages different brain areas because of its numerous components, which include movements, breathing, concentration, and postures. While the exercise itself doesn’t depend on memory and instead prioritizes the present, it can assist those with dementia because they only need to concern themselves with the moment and are not under pressure to meet the expectations of anyone else.
Research also shows that aging individuals who perform mindfulness exercises demonstrate less atrophy or hippocampus shrinking than those who do not practices such methods. Furthermore, studies have also concluded that meditation in particular leads to superior neural connectivity in retirees who practice it.
How Yoga Strengthens the Body
Because yoga requires physical exertion, those who practice it will gain many bodily benefits. These include enhanced cognition, motor skills, and posture. Yoga primarily involves holding poses and breathing, which allows practitioners to acquire greater flexibility and mobility, enhanced oxygen intake with greater lung capacity, and core strengthening which leads to excellent balance and stability.
One trait which makes yoga distinct from other exercises is its ability to aid people who are suffering from dementia in eradicating physical barriers. Examples of this include pose modifications as well as diverse communication techniques and pacing. Additionally, yoga is personalized, which means that practitioners can find and use poses that are comfortable for them.
Yoga Reduces Stress
We live in a world that is more stressful than ever, with ever-growing demands from friends, family, our jobs, academic institutions, and the government. While stress can certainly take its toll on young people, for aging individuals its effects can be even worse.
Research has revealed that the hormones associated with stress can influence brain structures which are a necessity for cognition and memory. Additionally, those who suffer from chronic stress were found to have greater inflammation levels within their bodies, including the nervous system and brain. Scientists have made a connection between inflammation and its role in the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Yoga is the ultimate stress reducer, as it will slow down the physical and cognitive changes that come with age. However, its benefits go beyond merely lowering stress, because those who regularly practice this exercise will learn how to manage it. Studies have also demonstrated that lowering stress is the key to reinforcing one’s immune system which in turn aids it in fighting against the many diseases that are associated with aging. Yoga and the breathing exercises it teaches can bring about mental and physical relaxation along with higher concentration and blood circulation.