Objective: To determine whether fear of falling (FoF) and balance improved after a 12-week yoga intervention among older adults.
Design: A 12-week yoga intervention single-armed pilot study.
Setting: A retirement community in a medium-sized university town in the Midwest.
Participants: A convenience sample of adults (N=14) over the age of 65 years who all endorsed an FoF.
Intervention: 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.
Main outcome measures: 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.
Results: FoF decreased by 6%, static balance increased by 4% (P=.045), and lower-body flexibility increased by 34%.
Conclusions: 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.