Research shows that stroke victims can improve recovery with yoga
Stroke patients frequently suffer with balance problems a long time after they have, in all other ways, recovered. This obviously poses a health risk as imbalance can lead to accidents. In a study at Indiana University, 47 people, most of them US army veterans who had all had a stroke at least six months previously, performed various activities. One third had yoga twice a week for eight weeks; another had yoga twice a week as well as access to a relaxation recording to use at least three times a week; the third group had no yoga at all. The classes involved relaxation, postures and meditation, with the skill level being increased each week. Those who did yoga regularly had superior balance control after the eight weeks when compared to the control group. They also scored higher on tests for feelings of independence and quality of life. Because people only get rehabilitation care for a few months following a stroke, these findings are important as they indicate they could continue to benefit from yoga for a longer time period.
While many of us may shy away from trying yoga for fear of not being able to get into the pretzel-like positions experts achieve, it’s one of the few activities that you can get a lot out of whether you’re a beginner or advanced. Older people who practise yoga regularly are not only more supple, they also tend to have stronger bones and better muscle tone.