Older individuals who practice Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese martial art, have a lower risk of falling compared to those who do other types of exercise, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Shanghai University of Sport and published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
The study involved nearly 1,200 adults aged 70 or older, with around 700 of them participating in the experiment. These participants had limited mobility and were at risk of falling due to a doctor’s diagnosis and/or a fall within the previous year.
The participants were divided into three groups: two one-hour exercise classes per week for 6 months with randomization to either Tai Chi, a program including stability, aerobics, strength, and flexibility exercises, or stretching. After six months, 49% of the participants reported a total of 733 falls.
Tai Chi (also known as tai ji quan) was found to be the most effective in reducing the incidence of falls, performing 58% better than the stretching program and 32% better than the program involving a variety of exercises. While the varied exercise program showed better results in improving stability and reducing fall rates compared to just stretching, Tai Chi ultimately demonstrated significantly superior results.
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