Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Yoga Brings Balance to Older Women

tidbits that tantalizeAre Pizza and Yoga a Match?

Are you an Eastern philosophy type? Is the yin and yang of life the driving force directing you toward peace, enlightenment, and health? Or, do you tend more toward the pizza and soda philosophy of life, in which the only critical issues revolve around the immediate? How much fun can you have right now, or exactly how great will that deep-dish pie taste with extra cheese?

Do yoga and pizza go together? Hmm...

A recent study by researchers at Temple University indicates that, while pizza is certainly tasty, yoga may in fact be healthier for you. The scientists looked at the impact of yoga on the ability to balance among elderly women. As women age they are at increased risk of falling, often resulting in broken hips and other serious injuries. The ability to maintain one's balance is a crucial tool in achieving longevity.

The team enrolled 24 women, age 65 or older, in a nine-week course of yoga training. The training was an adapted version of Iyengar Yoga, specifically designed to be less intense, making it appropriate for the elderly. Previous studies had used the more traditional, and more intense, forms of yoga.

The results were encouraging. The women showed improvement in several areas, including balance, length of stride and speed of walking. The women also expressed a feeling of greater confidence in their ability to balance while standing and walking.

"We were very impressed at the progress our participants made by the end of the program," said study chief Dr. Jinsup Song. "Subjects demonstrated improved muscle strength in lower extremities, which helps with stability. There was also a pronounced difference in how pressure was distributed on the bottom of the foot, which helps to maintain balance."

Where does that leave pizza? Well, try this: stand on one leg, slowly bringing the pizza slice to shoulder level, rotating your arm at the elbow, gently bring the slice toward your mouth...

To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To read more about Iyengar Yoga, see this from B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga.


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