A major concern for many people as their loved ones age is the possibility of them falling. A fall can be detrimental to the body and the recovery can often be difficult. Aging is inevitable, but new studies are finding ways to help prevent falling. A study by University of Miami found yoga to have health benefits for aging populations, particularly on how to avoid falls.
Laurie Orlando does not have your ordinary yoga class. Most of her students are between the ages of 50 and 80 years old. Her classes consist of students who are recovering from surgery or just trying to stay active as they age. “The class is completely supportive. We use chairs, bolsters, straps, blankets—anything they need to help them get on and off the floor,” Laurie says.
Joe Signorile, a teacher of Exercise Physiology at the University of Miami, led the study and aimed to make this popular exercise a form of preventative medicine. In order to transform classic yoga poses into therapeutic forms, Signorile had to team up with yoga teachers in the area.
Yoga is a full body exercise that can be modified to reach specific goals. And for these particular students, the goal is to prevent falls by strengthening the upper body as well as balance work. Yoga is also a form of exercise that does not need much equipment and can be done anywhere. Of course, there will be those who are hesitant to do the exercise. But Signorile's research made an appearance at one of the biggest national yoga conferences in the country and since then, there has been a growing interest in therapeutic yoga.
Mary Beth Rowley has been attending therapeutic yoga for the last four months and can already feel the positive results. After enduring neck and shoulder injuries, she claims holding the poses have really benefited these areas. Overall, she feels more ‘aligned’ and even feels more strength in her hips.
Aging is inevitable, but learning how to improve our balance and incorporate exercise into our daily lives will have long lasting benefits. Balance exercises can be done anywhere and ultimately improve your lower body strength. Try to incorporate these balance exercises in your daily routine, but always make sure you have support when trying these exercises!
- Standing on one foot
- Walking heel to toe
- Balance walk
- Back and Side Leg Raises
Signorile has high hopes for the future of therapeutic yoga. His next goal is to secure some funding to eventually study how yoga benefits those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.