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7 Reasons You Should Try Yoga This Weekend

7 Reasons You Should Try Yoga This Weekend

Yoga can improve your mind and body. Visiting a yoga class won’t just help you get fit and flexible. You can also expect to reduce stress, increase concentration, and improve your posture. Need more convincing? Check out these 7 reasons to try yoga this weekend.

1. Low impact, beginner-friendly exercise

Unfortunately, most people associate exercise with punishment. Running on the treadmill is something you do because you “ate too much and need to burn it off.” This attitude is unhealthy and unnecessary. Yoga is a great way to teach yourself that exercise is about treating your body (not torturing it). 

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2. Stress relief

A study published by Oxford University Press discovered that yoga could be an effective intervention for reducing stress and back pain at work. Study participants were split in to two groups of 37: the first performed a 50-minute yoga session every week for eight weeks and received a 20-minute DVD for home practice, while the control group received no intervention. The yoga group reported significantly lower stress, back pain, sadness, and hostility than the control group. They also reported feeling self-assured, attentive, and serene. Click here to build your own stress-reducing yoga routine.

3. Increased concentration and motivation

A study by the American College of Sports Medicine found that yoga can improve concentration, enhance motivation, and reduce anxiety within two months. Study participants completed three assessments during the second and ninth week of the study to measure concentration, motivation, and anxiety. According to the study authors, the improvements in all three areas were dramatic.” This should come as no surprise, since yoga is regarded as a mindful discipline in the East.

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Another study by the University of Illinois that appeared in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that yoga can improve focus and brain function. Thirty study participants took tests measuring their ability to focus, retain, and use information. One group performed aerobic exercise (walking on a treadmill), while others participated in a yoga class that concluded with a brief meditation and deep breathing. Those who performed yoga had a higher ability to focus, learn, and retain new information than those who walked.

4. Better balance and stability

A study published by the Department of Veteran Affairs in the journal Stroke found that yoga improves motor function and balance after having a stroke. Three-quarters of all stroke survivors suffer from falls (which could break bones or end lives), so this is welcome news. Try out the yoga balances for beginners below if you’d like to move with grace.

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5. Improved flexibility

A more flexible body capable of moving through its full range of motion is less susceptible to injury. Don’t worry: you don’t have to stand on your head or perform a split. If you’re the opposite of flexible, try out these yoga poses for beginners.

6. Confident posture

Spending your days sitting in front of a computer is a surefire way to wreck your posture (not to mention all the other risks that come with excessive sitting). Perform this quick yoga workout if you’d like to have a perfect posture that allows you to walk with swagger.

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7. Get a good night’s sleep

A study by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School observed the effects of yoga on patients suffering from insomnia. They practiced a 45-minute yoga sequence, including deep-breathing and meditation, every night for eight weeks. Participants reported statistically significant improvements in sleep efficiency, total sleep time, total wake time, number of awakenings, and quality of sleep. Click here to check out 10 yoga poses that will help you get to sleep. If you’d like more sleep hacks guaranteed to increase your Z’s, click here.

Have you ever tried yoga? If so, what’s your favorite pose? If you haven’t, why not?

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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