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Tai chi 'beats depression in older adults'

Tai chi 'beats depression in older adults'
17th March 2011

Older people should take up tai chi in an effort to improve their mental health and beat depression, research has suggested.

Scientists of the University of California Los Angeles found that adding tai chi to standard depression treatment improved levels of depression in a group of older people who had the condition compared to a control group who just received the usual therapy.

They also saw better quality of life, memory and cognition and more energy in the group partaking in the martial art, according to the study, published online in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Author Dr Helen Lavretsky said: "This study shows that adding a mind-body exercise like tai chi that is widely available in the community can improve the outcomes of treating depression in older adults, who may also have other, co-existing medical conditions, or cognitive impairment."

Women are more likely to have depression than men, with one in four requiring treatment for the condition at some point in their lives, according to NHS Choices. However, men are much more likely to commit suicide - possibly because they are less likely to seek help for the illness.

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