Tai Chi can help older people improve balance

A review of studies has found that practising tai chi helps older people improve their balance and avoid falls.

Tai chi is a form of Chinese martial arts which is nowadays practised as an exercise. The exercise involves a specific program of graceful movements accompanied by mental focus and deep breathing, where one moves their centre of balance from one leg to another.

According to a report by The New York Times, the analysis, in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, found that tai chi reduced the incidence of falls by 43 percent in those followed for less than a year and by 13 percent in those followed longer.

The lead author, Rafael Lomas-Vega of the University of Jaen in Spain, said that none of the studies showed any adverse effects of tai chi.

“We recommend tai chi as a safe practice for the prevention of falls,” he said. “And some reviews have found positive effects on chronic conditions such as cancer, osteoarthritis and heart failure.”

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