1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

Tai Chi for the Elderly

Follow me on:

Tai chi helps the elderly with falling? Not so fast, says a Reuters report study that took place in the Netherlands. Going off of past ambivalent reports of how helpful tai chi is with the elderly who are prone to falling, researchers followed 138 elders, who took tai chi for an hour twice a week for 11 weeks. Tai chi is a slow-moving Chinese martial art that is said to improve balance, strength and endurance. For study participants, though, of the 138 elders enrolled in the classes, 115 falls occurred compared to 91 falls for another 131 elders who didn’t take tai chi at all. Beyond balance, researchers say, “The investigators also found no between group differences in balance, fear of falling, physical activity level or functional status.” Consequently, it was concluded that “tai chi chuan is limited in preventing falls among home-living elderly at high risk for falling.” One aspect of this study that I find problematic is the study duration: 11 weeks. I would be interested in knowing how elderly people, who have practiced tai chi as a lifestyle, meaning they have been practicing tai chi as a part of their lives for years, would fare in this study. In some ways, this study seems akin to the weight watcher who begins a new exercise routine, twice a week for an hour, and then quits after about two months (not so far from 11 weeks). How effective would that exercise regimen be? Most healthcare providers advise that exercise, for example, be observed four to five times a week. These days, any individual practicing any type of exercise for just two days a week is unlikely to see much of a difference in any aspect of their lives. I think this study has a limited scope and followed the participants for too short of a time. Finally, unless it is known how people who practice tai chi throughout their lifetimes manage with balance, I think it is improbable to really know what is the true benefit of tai chi.
Comments
February 17, 2009 at 6:44 am
(1) Mahendra says:

Thank’s for your article

February 23, 2009 at 3:48 pm
(2) Bridget Reno says:

I think this is a great technique for the elderly to practice during their spare time. Tai chi has many beneficial aspects for those who practice it routinely. Being that it is a slow-moving Chinese martial art that is said to improve balance, strength and endurance, this may in fact improve the mental and physical health of the elderly, and at the same time helps keep them active. Tai chi is a great way of strengthening the body and it may be just the right amount of exercise the elderly need to stay healthy and balanced.

February 24, 2009 at 2:01 pm
(3) Arthritis Diet Cures says:

Great information! It is so important for the elderly to keep those joints moving with exercise.
Arthritis Diet Cures

February 24, 2009 at 2:04 pm
(4) Arthritis Diet Cures says:

Great information! It’s so important for the elderly to keep there joints moving with exercise.

April 15, 2009 at 11:06 am
(5) Zaharey says:

The practice tai chi very nice for the health. However it can be added more by using the magnetic theraphy. Tai chi one together with the Magneticwill more give the good consequence on the blood circulation in our body.

Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Alternative Medicine

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.