Benefits of Yoga: Balance
As we age, our balance begins to naturally decline and our risk for falls increases. Improving balance at any age helps to decrease the risk of injury; however, improving balance in the elderly population is particularly important. The elderly is at high risk for falls, and many times these falls result in injuries. As a result, many elderly people have a fear of falling which can decrease their level of activity and quality of life. Yoga is one way to effectively work on improving your balance.
Many yoga poses require you to stand on one leg, which requires good balance and core strength to maintain. Modifications such as using a yoga block, chair or wall to hold onto for balance will help to keep you safe until your balance has improved. Just like with the strength aspect of yoga, many of these balance postures are held for a certain number of breaths. Even for someone with good balance, this can be a challenge. You can keep your muscles working to keep you from falling over and even the slightest weight shift can knock you off balance. If you happen to fall out of a pose, don’t worry. Recover your balance and try again. Repetition of challenging your balance will actually help to improve your balance over time.
Falls can happen at any age, unexpectedly, and result in injury. Even if you think you have good balance, studies have shown that work on balance activities can help to decrease your risk of injury. Improving your balance will make activities of daily living such as dressing, stair climbing and walking much easier. If you know you have poor balance, the safest way to work on your balance is under the direction and supervision of your physical therapist.