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Yoga regimen can improve balance, mobility for elderly people

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Participation in yoga programmes can improve balance and boost physical mobility of people aged over 60 years, a study today claimed.

Researchers of The George Institute for Global Health said that participation in such programmes can improve balance, provide a safe and enjoyable form of exercise and may reduce the risk of falls for older people.

Anne Tiedemann of the Institute and the University of Sydney said attracting older people to take part in exercise programmes that boost their balance is a challenge and that yoga may be part of the solution.

Yoga programmes could be implemented to compliment other effective balance programmes like Tai Chi, to encourage older people to have an ongoing exercise regime that improves their quality of life.

"Our research has found that overall yoga programmes were safe for older people to take part in and resulted in improvements in key activities such as standing on one leg, standing up from a seated position and walking.

"This is a major public health problem that needs to be urgently addressed as the proportion of older people in the population is rapidly rising," Tiedemann said.

A summary of the results of published trials provides preliminary evidence that yoga may be effective in reducing the risk of falls and promoting independence in older age.

The research comes on the eve of the 2nd International Day of Yoga which will be celebrated all across the country while the main event will be held in Chandigarh where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lead by doing the Common Yoga Protocol.

GIGH said as per a report of the Union Health Ministry, the number of people in the 60-plus age group in India will increase to around 198 million by 2030 and the percentage of older people will increase to 12 per cent of the total population.

In India, falls are one of the major causes of accidental deaths in older people.

The rate of injuries due to fall in the older people is quite substantial and sometimes results in long-term disability.

"Further research is now needed to determine if yoga-related improvements in balance and mobility translate to prevention of falls for older people," said Vivekanand Jha, Executive Director, of GIGH India.

First Published: Mon, June 20 2016. 22:28 IST