Yoga may help prevent falls in elderly women

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Women over 65 may be able to find a new balance in their lives through a certain kind of yoga, and at the same time reduce their risk of falls.

A preliminary study has shown that Iyengar yoga, which heavily utilizes standing poses and props to build leg strength and core balance, has helped a group of 24 elderly women increase their flexibility and confidence in walking and balance. According to researchers, this improved stability could go a long way toward preventing falls later in life.

Similar previous studies have used a more aggressive form of yoga, but researchers wanted to develop a senior-friendly regimen with simple poses and good posture. All participants in the study were observed to have a faster, more confident stride at the end of the nine-week session, and some even reported that unrelated chronic back and knee pain had gone away.

Dr. Jinsup Song of Tempe University's Gait Study Center and head researcher presented the findings of her study to the Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society at their annual meeting early this month.