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Improve Your Balance, Strength and Flexibility

America is faced with a health crisis.  The U.S. Surgeon General states that 25 percent of all adults (approximately 50 million) are not active at all through some form of exercise or physical activity.  If you consider yourself sedentary or your physical fitness activity has been limited due to a stroke, a yoga fitness could be the program to help get you moving again.

Yoga is recognized for increasing strength and flexibility, however it can also be great for increasing the balance in stroke patients.

Sustaining good balance is crucial as people age, given that falls can result in fractured and broken bones. Stroke survivors often have substantial decrease in balance if a single side of the body is stronger than the other, placing them at increased risk for falling.

A recent study on the benefits of yoga for stroke survivors involved 20 veterans (19 men and one woman), average age 66, who had had a stroke. They took part in twice-weekly yoga exercise sessions taught by a yoga therapist who modified the moves. Participants started with chairs yoga, gradually progressing to doing poses from the floor and standing positions.

The participants improved their stability by 34%. At the beginning of the research the test subjects averaged a score of 40 on the Berg Balance Scale, but towards the end they scored an average 47; a score of 46 or below indicates a danger for falling. Endurance increased as well. “It was interesting to see how much the men liked the yoga,” said head investigator Arlene Schmid inside a news release.

As in the study, chair yoga is a great starting point and offers you the ability to improve your health through an amazing form of adaptive exercise.  A chair supports you so you can receive yoga’s healing and restorative benefits that have been known for thousands of years.  Yoga relaxes your body and mind, improves your circulation, fitness and flexibility, and your overall health and well-being.

Get Started With Yoga

  • Do a Google search in your zip code with the words “chair yoga”, “adaptive yoga”, “ gentle yoga “or” yoga for seniors”.
  • Ask local recreation centers and senior centers for yoga class and teach referrals.
  • Try both group and private classes.
  • Purchase yoga videos or subscribe to online classes.

By: Amy McCraken

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"Regardless of your age, level of activity or physical challenge, you will derive wonderful health benefits from adding chair yoga into your daily routine."

Give Chair Yoga a Try at Home
Not sure if chair yoga is for you? Try these free online chair yoga classes and see for yourself if you don’t feel a sense of renewal in your body. 

Before starting any new exercise routine, check with your doctor first. Start slow and easy and gradually ease into the routine over time.

This Chair Yoga Video by Dr. Lynn Anderson is 6 minutes long and a very good starting place. It is free but you will have to watch a 20-30 second advertisement before the video starts.

This Chair Yoga Video by Michelle Rubin is 54 minutes long and much more intense than the previous video. To start move at a much slower pace, take breaks and slowly progress.

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