Practising yoga may have many health benefits, but yoga-related injury rates are rising, especially for older adults above 65 years of age, claim researchers.
"Yoga injuries are relatively rare, but the incidence tends to rise with the age of the participant," said lead author Thomas Swain, research assistant at the University of Alabama, in the US.
‘The overall rate of yoga-related injuries in the US climbed to 17 per 100,000 participants in 2014, up from 10 per 100,000 in 2001.’
"The study found that the injury rate is increasing over time, which may be a reflection of the increase in popularity of yoga, leading to an increase in inexperienced participants who do not take necessary precautions to avoid injury," he added. According to the study, the overall rate of yoga-related injuries in the US climbed to 17 per 100,000 participants in 2014, up from 10 per 100,000 in 2001.
For people aged 65 and above, the injury rate was 58 per 100,000 participants. Individuals aged 45-64 saw an injury rate of 18 per 100,000, while those between 18-44 years of age had an injury rate of 12 per 100,000.
Nearly half were injuries to the trunk, and sprains or strains accounted for 45 per cent of all injuries. The incidence of fracture was three times higher in the elderly than in the younger population, Swain observed.
As with any sport or physical activity, it is important to be sure you are physically capable of the undertaking, the authors said. "Talk to your physician before taking up yoga, be cautious, and recognise your personal limitations, particularly if you are over 65," Swain noted.
"One needs to understand that some poses might be too challenging and inappropriate. A qualified, certified yoga instructor can help you with that assessment and is essential to a safe experience," added Gerald McGwin, professor at University of Alabama. The study was published in the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine.