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Gainesville Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Reducing Falls with Yoga

We are well aware that falls are particularly problematic for people as they age. Injuries and other health-related issues are compounded when a fall occurs for someone in our older population.

Studies show that among people aged 65 and older, falls are the leading cause of injury death, as well as the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital trauma admissions. Thirty percent of this age group has a fall each year. By age 80 that rate increases to 50 percent.

Now, a recent study by University of Wisconsin–Madison Professor of Family Medicine Irene Hamrick suggests there may be a relatively easy way for seniors to reduce fall potential – hatha yoga. Most forms of western yoga are classified as hatha yoga, which includes practices designed to align and calm your body, mind, and spirit.

Professor Hamrick’s study showed that the number of falls by participants – all older adults – dropped 48 percent in the six months after yoga classes began, compared to the six months previous.

There were 38 participants in the study with the average participant being 70 years old. They attended biweekly classes for eight weeks. In the six months prior to taking the classes, 15 participants reported 27 falls. In the six months following the start of classes, 13 people reported 14 falls – a significant reduction.

The results of this study demonstrate that the effort to encourage seniors to participate in mild physical activity such as yoga can have tremendous health benefits. Anything that can reduce injuries and prevent hospital emergency room visits should be an important part of an older person’s daily activity.


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