Yoga Helped Older Stroke Victims Improve Balance, Endurance

Arlene A. Schmid, Indiana University

An Indiana University study that exposed older veterans with stroke to yoga produced "exciting" results as researchers explore whether this popular mind-body practice can help stroke victims cope with their increased risk for painful and even deadly falls.

The pilot study involved 19 men and one woman, average age of 66. For eight weeks, they participated in a twice weekly hour-long group yoga class taught by a yoga therapist who dramatically modified the poses to meet the veterans' needs.

A range of balance items measured by the Berg Balance Scale and Fullerton Advance Balance Scale improved by 17 percent and 34 percent respectively by the end of the program. But equally exciting to lead researcher Arlene A. Schmid, rehabilitation research scientist at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, was the measurable gain in confidence the study participants had in their balance.

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