It's probably no surprise that Sting, Tina Turner and Richard Gere meditate; supermodel Gisele Bundchen seems a less likely candidate, but they're all part of the surge in interest in mind-calming exercises, from mindfulness and transcendental meditation to traditional Buddhist practices. And the surge is fueled by the incredible new info about how meditation helps make you smarter - and wiser - and keeps you that way.
We meditate every day (almost!) for about five minutes in the morning and at night to ease stress, strengthen our focus and improve our health. Now research shows just how meditation does all that.
In one study, after meditating for 30 minutes a day for eight weeks, folks had more gray matter in the areas of the brain that handle learning, memory, emotional regulation and the ability to take a clear look at what's going on. Other research shows that meditating helps you handle multitasking (and who doesn't have to multitask these days?) and pay more attention to various incoming sensations. It also makes genes that produce inflammation-triggering proteins less active. Best of all, regular meditators who are 40 to 50 years old have areas in their cerebral cortex that are as thick as 20- to 30-year-olds' - defying the long-held belief that age inevitably thins the cortex. It's how meditation keeps your reaction time, thinking, retention and memory younger.
So, pull up a chair, roll out a yoga mat or take a stroll and follow the easy-to-do walking meditations at www.RealAge.com.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.