The fear of falling, an issue common with several adults, can be significantly reduced by ancient form of yogic practice 'Hatha yoga'; report researchers from Indiana University.
According to the study, just a few minutes of pranayama twice weekly can help reduce fear of falling, increase lower body flexibility and lower older adults' leisure constraints.
Fear of falling compels older adults to limit their social and physical activity, which can in turn diminish their health and quality of life.
In the study led by Marieke Van Puymbroeck, assistant professor in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies in IU's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, the researchers recruited 14 men and women with an average age of 78. Five participants had fallen previously.
The participants took a class in hatha yoga, which is a gentle form of yoga that easily can be adapted for individual needs and can be performed from a seated position. The twice weekly classes each lasted 60 minutes.
After the 12 weeks, the 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.
Van Puymbroeck said participants reported "tremendous benefits," with emerging themes that included the ability to generalize principals of posture to other situations, increased range of motion, increased flexibility and improved balance.
The study was presented at International Association of Yoga Therapists' Symposium for Yoga Therapy and Research in Los Angeles.