Post-Rehabilitation Adapted-Yoga at the YMCA for Adults with Acquired Brain Injury: A Feasibility and Pilot Study
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Background & purpose: Adults with acquired brain injury (ABI) (stroke and traumatic brain injury) experience long-term physical performance deficits for which participation in post-rehabilitation exercise is recommended. Community-based adapted-yoga has potential as an exercise modality to promote post-rehabilitation exercise and physical function improvements. The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility and benefit of adapted-yoga at the local YMCA for post-rehabilitation adults with ABI. Methods: Participants were recruited by referral from clinical therapists in outpatient rehabilitation centers to participate in adapted-yoga 2x/week for 8 weeks at the YMCA. Referral tracking, yoga attendance, safety, and intervention fidelity were assessed for feasibility. Participants completed pre and post-yoga assessments of balance (trunk impairment scale [TIS], berg balance scale [BBS], dynamic gait index [DGI]) and walking (10-meter walk test [10MWT] and six-minute walk test [6MWT]) and 8 weeks of adapted-yoga class. Results: Thirty-two people were referred to the YMCA adapted-yoga program by clinical therapists with 17 (53%) of referred persons enrolling in the program. Intervention fidelity was 87% with the standardized adapted-yoga protocol, and the average number of classes attended was 12.82+3.7. Balance (TIS, p<0.001; BBS, p<0.001; DGI, p<0.001), and walking distance (6MWT, p= 0.028) all significantly improved after 8-weeks of yoga. Balance confidence did not improve significantly and walking speed did not change. Discussion & Conclusion: Clinician referral to community-based programs may be a feasible mechanism to engage persons in post-rehabilitation community-based exercise. Adapted-yoga may beneficially impact balance and walking performance in post-rehabilitation adults with ABI.