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Tai Chi helps elderly improve balance

Tai Chi helps elderly improve balance
22nd May 2008

Elderly individuals seeking to improve their balance and reduce the risk of falls could take up Tai Chi.

According to recent research conducted at the Oregon Research Institute, the Chinese martial art can assist and improve overall wellbeing, and in particular, balance among elderly participants.

This conclusion was based on a study of 256 physically inactive adults aged between 70 and 90-years-old, half of which were assigned to a Tai Chi group and half to a stretching group.

After six months of attending their respective training sessions, it was noted that only 28 falls were recorded for the Tai Chi group compared to 74 for the control participants.

Six months after the experiment it was also noted that despite both groups demonstrating a decline in balance the Tai Chi group declined to a lesser degree.

Approximately 66 per cent of the participants continued with the martial art after the experiment had ended – demonstrating a new-found enthusiasm for gentle activities.

Meanwhile, a recent British Medical Association poll highlighted that eight per cent of healthcare professionals felt that the activities provided in NHS residential and care homes was adequate.