‘Yoga can help prevent fall injuries in elderly’

Study spread over three months involved people between 60-81 years

Published: 07th May 2018 03:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th May 2018 09:38 AM   |  A+A-

Illustration: Soumyadip Sinha

HYDERABAD:For an elderly person, falling down and getting injured, sometimes grievously is always a serious health concern and a cause of constant worry for their family members. One study conducted in Hyderabad suggests that doing yoga can prove beneficial in preventing falling among the elderly and hence in preventing injuries. 

The study spread over three months involved 50 people aged between 60-81 years, of whom 29 were women. As part of the study, the participants attended 27 yoga sessions, with each session lasting for an average of one hour. The researchers observed that there was an improvement in time taken by the elderly in rising up from a chair and an increase was observed in the length of steps taken by them while walking. The study also reports that through focus group discussions and interviews, it was found that the fear of falling down had reduced as compared to before, among the elderly who participated in the study. 

The study titled, ‘A mixed methods evaluation of yoga as a fall prevention strategy for older people in India’, was published this month in the journal BioMed Central. It was led by by Dr Lisa Keay of Injury Division, The George Institute for Global Health(TGIGH)-Australia. Researchers from Population health and Cardiovascular divisions of TGIGH-India, musculoskeletal division of Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Centre for Physical Fitness and Sports Sciences, University of Hyderabad and Osmania Medical College also participated in conducting the study. 

Speaking to Express, Dr D Praveen, Programme Head-Primary Health Care, TGIGH-India said, “Lack of coordination between mind and body along with problems like poor bone and muscle strength are some of the main causes behind the elderly people falling and injuring themselves. Exercise improves muscle and bone strength.” 

He further said, “There was no objective measure to analyse the effect of yoga on the participants in the study, so we used some proxy measures like standing and sitting time. This was a pilot study with small sample size which showed a positive impact. Now, we want to do a larger study using randomised control trials to prove effectiveness of yoga.” 

When contacted, certified yoga trainer, Mansi Gulati said, “There is no age restriction as to who can do yoga but one has to ensure that they learn yoga from a trainer who is knowledgeable and experienced, especially when it comes to the elderly. As many hold the notion, yoga is not just about performing asanas but is also about breathing and concentration, which makes the body fit, improves mental health and also improves confidence. For the elderly, it will provide a holistic approach to being fit.”

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