A new study reveals that a popular martial arts practice can help elderly citizens avoid falls as well as improve their emotional well-being.
According to the report, which appears in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, tai chi can help people acquire better balance and avert potentially devastating falls. The Chinese martial art is a blend of deep breathing and relaxation with slow, gentle movements.
Researchers examined tai chi’s effects on elderly people who suffered from a variety of diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure and cancer. The team concluded that the technique was linked to improved psychological conditions and other general health benefits, such as fall prevention.
“We recommend tai chi for older people for its various physical and psychological benefits,” the study’s authors wrote.
According to a 2007 survey by the National Institutes of Health, approximately 2.3 million adults in the U.S. practiced tai chi within 12 months of taking the poll. The exercise is commonly used by people who wish to improve their sleeping patterns and easy physical pain such as that stemming from osteoarthritis.