Falls are often thought of as a normal part of aging, and while they are quite common, they don’t have to be accepted as a consequence of growing older. The Centers for Disease Control has found that millions of people over the age of 65 experience a fall each year, and one in five falls causes serious injury. Data shows that one in four seniors will take a spill this year, but taking the right preventative measures can greatly reduce your risk of falling.
Elderly fall prevention can involve a variety of components, including keeping a clean house, wearing the right shoes, and seeing a doctor regularly. But research now also shows that yoga for seniors can also be an effective method of fall prevention for seniors, as well.
Yoga and Elderly Fall Prevention
Although the practice of yoga has been around for hundreds of years, it has become a trendy form of exercise in the last quarter century. Part of its appeal is the fact that there are yoga classes for all different levels of ability, body types, and ages. And not only is it a great form of exercise, but yoga is also a great tool for elderly fall prevention.
A 2017 study performed by Irene Hamrick, a professor of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, found that yoga for seniors can greatly reduce the risk of falls. Hamrick and her associates enlisted 38 participants with an average age of 70 to take biweekly yoga classes for 8 consecutive weeks. 15 of those participants reported having experienced a total of 27 falls in the six months leading up to the study. In the six months following the study, 13 participants reported having 14 falls. This significantly reduced their fall rate--by 48 percent--leading researchers to believe that there is a strong correlation between yoga for seniors and fall prevention.
A 2015 study from the University of Miami found that a regular yoga practice, paired with Tai Chi, lends itself well to elderly fall prevention. Dr. Joe Signorile, a professor of exercise physiology at the University of Miami, recruited participants for the study who had a median age of 74 and a history of experiencing falls. In addition to the modified yoga poses, the seniors also practiced Tai Chi regularly for 12 weeks. The outcome found that the participants had improved balance and postural stability. As a result, Dr. Signorile teamed up with local yoga instructors to create classes geared towards seniors that had modified poses aimed at helping fall prevention for seniors.
The Benefits of Yoga For Seniors
Yoga is a full body exercise that can be modified to suit an individual’s needs. The benefits of yoga far outweigh any negatives--from strengthening the upper body, improving balance, steadying the mind, and being a proven method of fall prevention for seniors.
Yoga for seniors can help to improve our balance as we age, while also incorporating exercise into our daily lives. Balance exercises can be done anywhere and ultimately improve your lower body strength. Yoga can help seniors work on their balance by incorporating poses where you are standing on one foot, walking heel to toe, centering your weight using your core muscles, and strengthening all of the muscles in your body.
Additionally, a yoga practice typically includes an element of mindfulness, which has also been proven to improve the overall health and wellness of seniors.
Medical Guardian and Fall Prevention For Seniors
Along with adopting a regular yoga practice to encourage fall prevention, a medical alert device can also have a big impact on senior falls. The CDC reports that seniors who have experienced a fall are twice as likely to fall again compared to their peers who have not fallen. A medical alert device help a senior feel more confident about living independently after experiencing a fall, thus reducing their risk of falling again.
And should a senior with a medical alert system experience a fall, they can rest assured knowing that help is just minutes away. Thus, improving their chances of a full recovery after a fall.