There is no shortage of people suffering strokes. The key is helping yourself afterward: altering your lifestyle so that you can be healthy and avoid future cardiac events. A new bit of health news found that yoga could have a very positive effect.
Researchers found that an eight-week program of yoga for stroke rehabilitation led to improved balance and flexibility, a stronger and faster gait, and increased strength and endurance.
The study exposed older veterans recovering from stroke to yoga. The men and women had completed their post-stroke occupational and physical therapy before the study, but continued to have impairments. Overall, loss of strength, flexibility and endurance is common after a stroke, leading to long-term disability.
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Right now, five million Americans live with the aftermath of having a stroke, which can mean reduced independence, limited mobility, and being isolated and stuck in one’s home. The best health advice here is to manage and improve these physical impairments — and it can be done.
The researchers found significant improvements in all areas as a result of yoga. The yoga activities might have “improved neuromuscular control, likely allowing for strength improvements in affected limbs, sides or areas of disuse,” according to the study.
The study also honed in on walking. After the yoga program, the study participants showed improved balance and faster gait speeds with longer steps or strides. They were still unable to sustain the faster speed for the entire six-minute test. Still, yoga may offer a great route to helping people walk normally again.
The researchers believe it might be appropriate to include yoga in the in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation people receive after a stroke. Such a class should be taught by a yoga therapist who has had additional training in anatomy and physiology and how to work with people with disabilities.
The best way to get started in yoga is to join a class, or save money and purchase a bundle of classes. A group setting with a strong instructor can do wonders if you give it a little time. If desired, you can take what you learned at class and perform yoga in the comfort of your home. There are also a wide variety of videos that lead you through a yoga routine. As a stroke sufferer, you will want a gentle form of yoga and should only push yourself to a limit you are comfortable with.