A specific type of yoga can help improve stability and balance in women over age 65, which could help to prevent falls, finds a preliminary study out of Temple University’s Gait Study Center. Dr. Jinsup Song and researchers examined the gait and postural stability of 24 elderly females who were enrolled in an Iyengar yoga program specifically designed for those over 65. They found that at the end of the nine-week program, participants had a faster stride, an increased flexibility in the lower extremities, an improved single-leg stance and increased confidence in walking and balance.
“We were very impressed at the progress our participants made by the end of the program,” explains Song. “Subjects demonstrated improved muscle strength in lower extremities, which helps with stability. There was also a pronounced difference in how pressure was distributed on the bottom of the foot, which helps to maintain balance.”
“In the past, similar studies have been done that look at gait and balance improvement in elderly females using a more aggressive form of yoga,” comments Song. “For this study, we worked to create a very basic regimen that taught participants proper ways to breathe, stand and pose.”
Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society – April 2008. www.gcmas.net