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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2010 Apr;91(4):576-83. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2009.12.018.

Effect of a 12-week yoga intervention on fear of falling and balance in older adults: a pilot study.

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  • 1Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development, Center of Excellence on Implementing Evidence-Based Practice, and the Health Services Research and Development Stroke Quality Enhancement Research Initiative, Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA. Arlene.schmid@va.gov



To determine whether fear of falling (FoF) and balance improved after a 12-week yoga intervention among older adults.


A 12-week yoga intervention single-armed pilot study.


A retirement community in a medium-sized university town in the Midwest.


A convenience sample of adults (N=14) over the age of 65 years who all endorsed an FoF.


Each participant took part in a biweekly 12-week yoga intervention. The yoga sessions included both physical postures and breathing exercises. Postures were completed in sitting and standing positions.


We measured FoF with the Illinois FoF Measure and balance with the Berg Balance Scale. Upper- and lower-body flexibility were measured with the back scratch test and chair sit and reach test, respectively.


FoF decreased by 6%, static balance increased by 4% (P=.045), and lower-body flexibility increased by 34%.


The results indicate that yoga may be a promising intervention to manage FoF and improve balance, thereby reducing fall risk for older adults. Rehabilitation therapists may wish to explore yoga as a modality for balance and falls programming; however, future research is needed to confirm the use of yoga in such programming.

Copyright 2010 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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