Study shows tai chi can improve seniors balance

Bryan Aldrige

December 21, 2011

Staying active might reduce pain in osteoarthritis patientsA new study shows that seniors who practice tai chi may have improved balance, leaving them less at risk of succumbing to dangerous falls, the Daily Mail reports.

To test this, researchers from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University set up a four month study involving 40 people over the age of 70. A control group, who did not perform any exercise, was also observed during the trial. Each person took part in three 90-minute tai chi sessions per week for the duration of the study.

The ancient Chinese practice involves participants shifting their weight gradually and rotating their heads and torsos. This helps individuals become more aware of each limb and muscle, which works to improve coordination.

From the data, scientists found that those who took part in tai chi had much better balance than those in the control group. The act also made the seniors feel more confident and secure, according to the news outlet.

"Tai chi can be a suitable form of exercise for those with visual impairment and indeed assists with improving their balance control," lead author, William Tsang told the publication.

Exercising with age can work to improve strength and keep the elderly healthier for longer. Seniors aging in place who workout at home may want to install a medical alert system, as accidents can happen. This wearable device can provide added security for a senior, knowing help is just the push of a button away.