It is commonly known that yoga can be used for stress management (breathing techniques), to build muscle (resistance training), weight loss (through isometric exercise ) but did you know it is an excellent way to maintain our balance? One out of 3 people over 65 fall every year. According to the CDC, falls are the top cause of injury death for that age group.
Multiple systems in our body support our balance. They involve musculoskeletal system for strength, visual acuity, and the inner ear vestibular system which is in charge of our movement and sense of balance. The brain coordinates all these inputs but the coordination declines with aging. Tack on declining muscle mass, arthritis, and visual and hearing loss, and you can see why falls are so prevalent.
Don’t despair! You have the ability to preserve proprioception or awareness of the position of one’s body. Yoga allows for using strengthening exercises and single standing postures which reinforce the brain’s pathways towards maintaining balance. It’s never too late to start! Read more in the Washington Post issue 6/25/13.