A University study used customized yoga poses to help older stroke victims improve balance, strength and endurance. The study authors found that after eight weeks of twice weekly sessions, the individuals who participated had improved their balance, gait and confidence significantly. Interestingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that among people 65 years and older, falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma, and nearly one-third of older adults suffer from some type of fall each year.
Yoga can be a bit daunting. A gentle approach with customized yoga positions tailored to seniors who have had little to no yoga experience would be a great way to maintain strength and balance and reduce the risk of falling. The use of props and supports while doing yoga poses can help participants gain confidence.
This approach was taken at Temple University’s Gait Study Center, where researchers at the School of Podiatric Medicine and the College of Health Professions found that at the end of a nine-week yoga program for women over the age of 65, the participants had a faster stride, an increased flexibility in the lower extremities, an improved single-leg stance and increased confidence in walking and balance.
Yoga is a great way to maintain strength and balance – key issues in aging gracefully.