Running Vs. Yoga: Benefits For The Brain

Let’s say it was possible for you:

  • To get more stuff done at work with less stress.
  • To be more creative and productive.
  • To be kinder to yourself when suffering or feeling unwell.

Would you be interested?

How about if scientists proved that there is a quick way to boost your mood and feel better? Maybe, slow down the effects of aging in the process, does that sound good?

If so, you’ll find this article a useful introduction to help you understand how taking up yoga or running can boost your brain power.

3 Benefits Of Practicing Yoga Or Taking Up Running

  • Emotional well-being
  • Improved concentration
  • Slowed aging process

Brain Power And Its Importance

Brain power is the ability of your brain to function in a balanced, healthy, and harmonious manner. In a way, that helps you to make wise, informed decisions which help you live a healthy, positive, and fulfilling life. Practicing yoga or taking up running provides you with simple, practical tools you can use to help your brain to achieve a balanced, healthy and positive life.

However, as a human, you make mistakes, fall short of your goals, and struggle to

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have harmonious relationships. This leaves you feeling frustrated, fed up, and anxious. In some cases, you might even feel depressed and suffer stress-related symptoms and anxiety.

Effect Of Stress On Your Brain Power

Most people would love to feel happier, fitter, healthier, and have deeper, more nurturing relationships with loved ones.
However, the fast, hurried pace of daily life, means work-related stress is on the rise.

Plus

  • Research findings show that your health is under attack by the effects of the sedentary lifestyle.
  • The rise of social isolation means the chance of you being happy, healthy, and enjoying positive relationships with loved ones deteriorates.
  • Community initiatives designed to foster social support and cohesion are under-resourced as governments fail to give these projects the high profile attention needed for sustained growth.

So, given these facts, what can you do to:

  • Ensure your body functions at an optimal level?
  • Live a happy and fulfilling lifestyle?
  • Boost your powers of concentration?
  • Improve your mental health and reduce the effects of aging?

How can running or yoga, two seemingly opposite forms of physical activity, boost your brain power and help you to be happy, healthier, and

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improve your well-being and performance at work?

Importance Of Running And Yoga

1. Boosts Your Performance At Work

The part of the brain that responds strongly to aerobic exercise is the hippocampus, that is associated with memory and learning.

Studies are emerging about the effects of running on boosting your brain and performance at work in the hippocampus. In the past, scientists believed that once you reached adulthood, your brain ‘stopped growing’. However, the field of neuroscience shows that the brain is constantly growing and responds to the demands you place on it.

A research report also found that practicing yoga can strengthen the parts of the brain responsible for processing and using new information and staying focused as you work.

Brain Power Tip

1. If you feel overwhelmed, tired, and stressed out at work, push your chair away from your desk and try these three simple seated yoga exercises to release tension and boost your energy.

  • Seated Trunk Twist: Rest your hands on your shoulders and gently twist your body side to side. Twist gently 3 – 5 times in each direction. Make sure you twist from
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    the base of your spine and keep your back straight throughout the stretch.
  • Arm Stretch Above Head: Breathe in and slowly stretch your arms up in the air above your head. Slowly breathe out and arch your back slightly. Breathe in and as you breathe out slowly return your arms to your thighs. Repeat 3 – 5 times.
  • Seated Cat Stretch: Make sure you have space in front of you. Sitting on your chair, bend forward and hold your ankles or shins. Arch your back, like a cat, relax and repeat 3 – 5 times. Remember to focus on your breath and to take slow deep breaths in and out through your nose as you arch your back.

2. If you have more time, here are 8 yoga poses you can practice improving your memory.

  • Sarvangasana

Running Vs. Yoga: Benefits For The Brain

Sarvangasana boosts the memory power by increasing blood supply to our brain.

  1. Lie on your back and raise both of your legs together in an upward
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    direction while inhaling.
  2. Provide support to your back with your hands.
  3. Hold the position for 2 minutes during the first few practices and then increase the time gradually up to 30 minutes.
  • Paschimottanasana

Running Vs. Yoga: Benefits For The Brain

It promotes brain activities significantly.

  1. Sit straight on the ground by spreading the legs forward and placing the hands by your side.
  2. Start bending your torso forward while stretching your tailbone slowly.
  3. Then, extend your hands and touch your toes.
  4. You may keep your eyes fixed on the floor by leaning forward a little. Hold the position for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Bhujangasana

Running Vs. Yoga: Benefits For The Brain

The regular practice of Bhujangasana can work as a true memory booster.

  1. Lie on the floor, face down and legs joined together.
  2. Your palms should rest on the floor right beside your chest while elbows need to be elevated in the upward direction.
  3. Now, start inhaling while
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    lifting up your chest.
  4. Move up the head as much as possible by pushing the neck backward.
  5. The duration of this pose should be at least 30 seconds.
  • Padmasana

Running Vs. Yoga: Benefits For The Brain

It is one of the simplest yoga postures that can enhance the power of your brain to a large extent.

  1. Sit upright on the ground and stretch your legs out.
  2. Now, place your right toe on the external edge of your left thigh by bending from the knee and vice versa.
  3. Rest your palms on your knees, close both of your eyes and relax.
  • Sukhasana

Running Vs. Yoga: Benefits For The Brain

This asana stimulates the brain by soothing the mind, body, and soul.

  1. Sit straight by spreading your legs forward.
  2. Now, place your left sole on the inner edge of your right thigh by folding from the knee and vice versa.
  3. Keeps your palms on your knees and concentrate
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    by closing the eyes.
  • Padahastasana

Running Vs. Yoga: Benefits For The Brain

This pose of yoga for increasing brain power is another simple and easy-to-perform asana that can sharpen your memory skills considerably.

  1. Stand upright on the ground by putting your hands up beside your ears.
  2. Bend your torso downwards in such a way that your palms reach your toes gradually.
  3. Touch your toes with your fingers and hold the position for next 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Vajrasana

Running Vs. Yoga: Benefits For The Brain

It is one of the basic yoga postures that triggers the brain muscles and increases the overall power of the organ.

  1. At first, you have to kneel on the ground.
  2. Make sure that the lower parts of your legs (starting right from the knees) are in contact with the ground.
  3. Rest both of your palms on your knees and sit absolutely straight.
  4. Finally, close your eyes and concentrate.
  • Halasana

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Last but not the least, practice Halasana to improve your brain power like never before.

  1. Lie on the ground on your back and raise both of your legs together upwards. They should make a 90-degree angle with the floor.
  2. Now, slowly bend them over your head and touch the floor with your toes.
  3. You can provide support to your back by using your palms.
  4. Stay in the position for 25 to 30 seconds.

Remember, when you practice yoga; listen to your body, and always work at a comfortable pace.

2. Boosts Your Emotional Well-Being

Have you heard of “fight or flight” response – when you are stressed, under attack, defenseless, or worried?

In response, your body naturally produces 3 main stress hormones: Adrenaline, Cortisol, Norepinephrine, which together prepares your body to ‘fight or flight’ from dangerous situations.

As previously mentioned, the hectic fast-paced life most people lead today, means you are often functioning on the fight-flight vibe, which has a negative effect on your mind-body relationship.

In fact, there is a growing body of research which shows, women under stress rather than ‘fight or flight’, have a tendency to ‘tend and befriend’ and nurture others. This has a beneficial effect on increasing the part of your brain responsible for emotional wellness. Learning how to meditate, as part of your yoga practice, helps you to develop and strengthen the ‘self-kindness and self-compassion’ section of your brain. Over time, this leads to a greater sense of happiness, self-awareness, and self-love.

Brain Power Tip

There are various styles and schools of yoga which range from gentle restorative yoga poses to more dynamic hot yoga classes. Within these variations, the common thread of breathing exercises and yoga poses activate the parasympathetic section of your central nervous system and release the relaxing-happy-making hormone, oxytocin.

3. Slows Down Cognitive Decline

In addition to the benefits of running and yoga on your emotional well-being and enhanced work performance, there is a growing body of research which looks at the relationship between yoga and its effects on reducing mental decline. All of which adds to the suggestion that practicing yoga helps you to stay flexible and age gracefully.

Final Thoughts

So as you can see, there are numerous physical and psychological benefits gained from practicing yoga. The stress relief, calming, and restorative aspects of yoga enhance the part of your brain associated with happiness, self-compassion, and self-kindness. Evidence suggests that running and yoga can boost your brain power and improve your well-being and performance at work. The calming benefits of yoga have a positive effect on the emotional and mental wellness functions of your brain, improve your ability to concentrate, and focus better at work.

Practicing yoga and/or taking up running help(s) you focus better at work, improve your ability to concentrate, and use new and existing information more effectively.

So, if you are tired of feeling stressed and are unhappy with life, why not take up yoga or running? With practice, you will perform better at work, age gracefully, and feel happier!