INDIANA, USA, March 13, 2009: An exploratory study at Indiana University indicates that hatha yoga can be helpful to older adults who are fearful of falling. After attending 24 hours of professional hatha yoga instruction, participants reported a reduced fear of falling, increased lower-body flexibility and a reduction in their leisure constraints.
A fear of falling can cause older adults -- even those who have not fallen -- to limit their social and physical activity, thus diminishing health and quality of life.
The study involved 14 men and women with an average age of 78. Five participants had fallen previously. After the 12-week class, participants reported a 6 percent reduction in their fear of falling, a 34 percent increase in lower body flexibility, and a statistically significant reduction in leisure constraints.
Participants reported "tremendous benefits," including the ability to generalize principals of posture to other situations, increased range of motion, increased flexibility and improved balance.