Yoga may help improve stability for older stroke patients

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A new and recent study on the benefits of yoga for stroke survivors. I am a big advocate of yoga for anyone that is able to do it. I know that it has made a tremendous difference in my life. It is a great practice for the mind, body and soul.

What I love also about yoga is the non-competitive nature of yoga. Yoga is about acceptance. Where you’re at is perfect, what you are doing is perfect just accept it and be with it. This type of mentality is reassuring in athletic endeavors and can also be of benefit in life.

Anyways, on to the study.

Yoga is recognized for increasing strength and flexibility, however it can also be great for increasing the balance of older stroke patients.

Sustaining good balance is crucial as people age, given that falls can result in fractured and broken bones. Stroke victims can experience a much greater decrease in balance if a single side of the body is stronger than the other, placing them at increased risk for falling.

The research involved 20 veterans (19 men and another woman), average age 66, who had had a stroke. They took part in twice-weekly yoga exercise sessions taught by a yoga therapist who modified the moves. Participants did poses first whilst sitting down in chairs, gradually progressing to doing poses from the floor and while standing.

The participants improved their stability on a couple of balance measures by a typical 17% and 34%. At the beginning of the research the test subjects averaged a score of forty on the Berg Balance Scale, but towards the end they scored an average 47; a score of 46 or below indicates a danger for falling. Endurance increased as well.

“It also was interesting to see how much the men liked it,” said head investigator Arlene Schmid inside a news release. Schmid, a rehabilitation research scientist at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, included that lots of of the contributors wanted to carry on practicing yoga once the study ended.

The research was displayed at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting this week in Denver.

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