Three medical studies on Tai Chi
Take up Tai Chi!
Tai Chi, an
ancient Chinese form of exercise, is beneficial for older people.
Half the group had an hour long Tai Chi class twice a week, while the others were put on a waiting list. After three months the benefits of Tai Chi had become clear. Those doing the exercises were twice as likely as the controls to say they were not limited in their ability to perform moderate to vigorous activity - so their physical functioning had improved. They also felt Tai Chi was helping them relax as well as become more flexible, strong and balanced. The improvements were even greater six months into the program. Only 18 per cent dropped out of the study. So for older people who have become sedentary, Tai Chi could be a good way of returning to exercise.
Tai chi helps with arthritis
Korea find that a tai chi program improves pain and daily living activities
in people with arthritis.
Seventeen patients, average age 64, did 12 weeks of a tai chi program especially designed for use in arthritis, and were compared to 14 controls who did not do the exercises. At the end of the study, the tai chi group reported significantly less pain, and fewer difficulties in activities of daily living. They also had improved abdominal strength and balance in comparison to the controls, though there were no difference in flexibility, upper muscle or knee muscle strength. Evidently older people can benefit greatly from taking up tai chi as part of their exercise routine - but it needs to be done under medical supervision and the moves should be taught by a qualified teacher.
Tai Chi benefits older adults
with low fitness levels have the most to gain from regular practice of Tai
Chi, according to a new study.
Researchers at the Oregon Research Institute, in the US, now report that it's those adults over 65 who have the lowest fitness levels that improve the most by doing twice weekly Tai Chi. Those suffering from depression also had a lot to gain. Those who were fit to start with did not improve so much - suggesting that a more challenging class would be more appropriate. In other words, like any other form of exercise, Tai Chi should be tailored to the individual.