Every year, one out of every three adults, age 65 and older, suffers from a fall. And, the risk of falling increases as older Americans age. Falls can cause minor to severe injuries – everything from cuts and bruises to broken bones and head traumas. Falls can even result in death.
To reduce your chances of falling, experts say older adults should exercise regularly. Regular exercise can help you maintain your independent lifestyle. Older adults can improve their balance with common exercises like balance training, tai chi, and yoga.
Yoga Improves Balance and Reduces Fall Risk
Yoga is an ancient spiritual and physical discipline. It uses breathing techniques, exercises in postures or poses, and mediation. Yoga strengthens your muscles and increases your flexibility while creating an awareness and balance in your mind and body. Besides improving your balance, yoga improves your posture, reduces chronic pain, gives you more energy and a more positive outlook on life.
A recent study suggested that a 12-week yoga program, modified for older adults who have fallen, can be effective in improving stability. The study evaluated 39 healthy seniors who were over 60 years old, living independently, and who had fallen at least once in the past year. Women made up the majority of the participants. However, women also have a higher risk of falling. Participants were assigned to 2 one-hour classes per week for 12 weeks in balance training, tai chi, or yoga. Participants in the yoga program performed various poses that targeted muscles important in maintaining balance.
After 12 weeks, older adults in all 3 groups experienced significant improvements in balance, gait, and posture control. While the study didn’t show whether yoga actually lead to a reduction in falls, it did suggest that yoga can lead to an improvement in a participant’s ability to maintain their balance. And, balance improvement can likely reduce their risk of a potential fall.
To determine what yoga style may be right for you, learn more in this AARP article.
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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.