Nice: Yoga Helps Stroke Survivors Get Back in Shape

More

An eight-week yoga rehabilitation program led to significant improvements in strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance.

Study of the DayDmitriy Shironosov/Shutterstock

PROBLEM: Around five million stroke survivors in the U.S. live with lingering physical impairments, including reduced functional strength, flexibility, and endurance. These "chronic stroke" symptoms alter patients' lifestyles by making them less mobile and independent.

METHODOLOGY: Researchers led by Arlene Schmid enrolled older veterans recovering from stroke in an adapted yoga program. These men and women had completed their post-stroke occupational and physical therapy before the study commenced but continued to have stroke-related injuries. Over an eight-week period, the researchers measured their hip flexion strength, ability to perform arm curls, aerobic endurance during a six-minute walk, speed at standing from a seated position, and range of motion.

RESULTS: The veterans who were practicing yoga experienced gains in functional strength, flexibility, and endurance. A related study that focused on the participants' gaits showed improved balance as well as faster and longer strides. Schmid explains in her report that yoga might have "improved neuromuscular control, likely allowing for strength improvements in affected limbs, sides or areas of disuse."

CONCLUSION: Yoga improves post-stroke patients' balance, flexibility, gait, strength, and endurance.

IMPLICATION: The authors note that yoga should be considered for post-stroke in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation and should be taught by a yoga therapist who has had training in anatomy, physiology, and working with people with disabilities.

SOURCE: The full study, "Physical Improvements After Yoga for People With Chronic Stroke," was recently presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in San Francisco.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Hans Villarica writes for and produces The Atlantic's Health channel. His work has appeared in TIME, People Asia, and Fast Company.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Wild Vacation in the Pacific Northwest

A not-so-ordinary road trip, featuring extra-tall art bikes, skateboards, and hand-painted vans


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

Just In