RISK FACTORS: Certain risk factors may increase your chances of falling. These include:
CAN YOGA HELP? Researchers from the School of Podiatric Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia examined the gait and postural stability of 24 elderly females who were enrolled in an Iyengar yoga program specifically designed for people over age 65. Iyengar yoga is a specific form of the exercise that uses chairs and other props for body placement. At the end of the nine-week program, participants had a faster stride, increased flexibility in the lower extremities and an improved single-leg stance. The women also reported an increase in confidence in walking and balance. Experts also noticed a pronounced difference in how pressure was distributed on the bottom of the foot, which helps maintain balance. Jinsup Song, D.P.M., Ph.D., Director of the Gait Study Center at Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, says, "People are gaining more confidence as they stand and walk at the end of the yoga intervention. People are more aware of their body posture. It [yoga] opens up a whole range of treatment options we didn't think we had before." Researchers say this preliminary study will pave the way for a larger study on how yoga may affect the function of the foot to improve balance and stability, and prevent falls.
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Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine