Women's Heart Advisor October 2012 Issue

Yoga Training May Help Improve Balance in Stroke Survivors

The results lead to greater mobility and a lower risk of falls.

Yoga training, even just two times a week, can significantly improve balance among stroke survivors who are no longer receiving rehabilitative care.

The results of a small study, published recently in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, found that stroke survivors who met twice weekly for group yoga training significantly improved their balance compared to those who did no yoga training or other type of rehabilitation. The people in the study had experienced a stroke more than six months prior to the start of the study and were no longer getting post-stroke physical therapy.

Researchers also noted that yoga training improved the confidence individuals had when engaged in activities such as shopping. Balance problems can linger long after a person has a stroke and can severely limit mobility and increase fall risks.

Group yoga sessions, taught by a trained instructor, were seen as cost-effective options for stroke survivors, and well-established means of improving motor function, balance and coordination.

Yoga can also help relieve stress, which can be especially helpful for individuals struggling with limited mobility and other complications stemming from a stroke.