Tai Chi Promotes Balance in Seniors
At a park in your neighborhood, you may have seen a group of seniors practicing the gentle back-and-forth flow of Tai Chi. It seems an appropriate exercise for those in the later years of life, because of the low-impact movements that are easy on aging joints. What you may not realize is how helpful Tai Chi can be in preventing dangerous falls in older adults.
Tai Chi incorporates exercises in which participants raise and lower one leg at a time in a series of slow, rhythmic martial arts forms. Over time, these exercises build muscle strength, promote balance and increase mobility. Because Tai Chi focuses the mind, participants become more aware of their bodies and how to avoid injury, which further supports their health. On an emotional level, practicing Tai Chi helps seniors feel steadier on their feet so that they are more confident and less afraid of falling.
Recent research has confirmed the impact of using Tai Chi for fall reduction. In a study of seniors from ages 70 to 92, participants practiced Tai Chi three times per week, and were compared to a stretching control group for a period of six months. The number of falls was dramatically fewer (46% compared to 28%) in the Tai Chi group, and there were also less falls that led to injuries (18% compared to 7%). Additionally, Tai Chi participants experienced greater functional balance, physical performance and decreased fear of falling.
With so many benefits, from reduced falling, to increased confidence, Tai Chi is an ideal exercise program for seniors. To get started, visit our online training program here (click here) or check us out in person at Edgewater Kung Fu (click here).