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Study Boasts Benefits of Yoga for Stroke Survivors

Goodshot/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) - Enthusiasts have long extolled yoga's benefits, particularly when it comes to mental health and exercise.  Now a new study, published in the journal Stroke, claims the popular discipline might also improve your quality of life.
 
Stroke is among the most common diagnoses among patients treated by rehabilitation therapists. These patients often suffer serious post-stroke impairments, including motor problems and difficulty with balance.  Up to 83 percent of stroke victims will struggle with balance and 73 percent will actually fall down. In fact, the fear of falling has a direct correlation on a patient's quality of life.
 
But researchers at Indiana University suggest that introducing yoga as part of rehab significantly improves balance and lessens a patient's fear of falling.  As a result, their study showed yoga intervention significantly improved quality of life and could prove a cost-effective benefit for stroke survivors.
 
The study was small, with only 47 patients participating, but the positive results warrant further research.
 
Interestingly, during post-study interviews, subjects said that because of improved balance, they were more likely to attempt new activities in different and more challenging environments. Though they were aware of potential fall risk, they'd grown more confident they could maintain their balance.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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