Yoga and meditation are known for their calming powers, but new research shows these practices could also sharpen your computer skills.
In a study published online in the scientific journal TECHNOLOGY, University of Minnesota researchers studied the learning patterns of two groups: 12 people who practiced yoga or meditation for one year at least two times a week for an hour, and 24 healthy people with little or no yoga or meditation experience.
Researchers studied the participants’ brain activity as they used left and right hand movements to move a cursor across a computer screen.
They found that those who did yoga and meditation learned three times faster than those who had little or no experience with the practices. They were also twice as likely to finish the task after 30 trials compared to the group with little or no experience.
“This comprehensive study shows for the first time that looking closer at the brain side may provide a valuable tool for reducing obstacles for brain-computer interface success in early stages,” lead researcher Bin He, a biomedical engineering professor, said in a news release.
Researchers say the findings could help doctors assist physically disabled and paralyzed individuals, who must rely on their mental muscle to operate devices like wheelchairs and artificial limbs.
“Our ultimate goal is to help people who are paralyzed or have brain diseases regain mobility and independence,” He said. “We need to look at all possibilities to improve the number of people who could benefit from our research.”