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Reduce Cognitive Decline with Tai Chi

Tai Chi Brain Health

OSTILL is Franck Camhi/Shutterstock.com

In good news for the 10 to 20 percent of people over age 65 that suffer with mild cognitive impairment, research from China’s Central South University, in Hunan, shows that practicing the gentle ancient martial art of tai chi can significantly improve memory, learning, mental speed and attention, the ability to formulate abstract ideas, mental flexibility and visuospatial perception. The research analyzed data from 10 studies that included 1,061 people with symptoms such as forgetting conversations and names, and having difficulty with complex tasks. “As it emphasizes mental concentration, physical balance, full-body stretching and relaxation, and relaxed breathing, tai chi has a great potential for becoming widely integrated into rehabilitation interventions for various medical and psychological conditions,” write the study’s authors.
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Global Brief: Natural Thinking Spending Time in Nature Increases Cognitive Performance
More of our time is spent indoors than ever before. One of the ways by which nature may improve cognitive function (i.e. the acquisition of and goal-oriented use of knowledge) is by improving memory formation and recall, specifically that of short-term or working memory, and goal-oriented or directed attention; the kind that requires focused effort. By comparing and contrasting 13 studies, a team of researchers has shed light on this complex interaction in research published in Frontiers in Psychology. The studies used the backwards digit span task, which requires participants to invert a series of numbers and repeat them back. All demonstrated significantly improved cognition in nature as compared to urban environments. The benefits of studies like this are two-fold: not only are we learning more about how the brain interacts with its environment, but also how to leverage this interaction to lead healthier, more productive and happier lives.
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