As we have previously written about, Tai Chi has an impressive array of health benefits and continues to be studied extensively. One important benefit of Tai Chi is how it helps to build leg strength and promote balance. With falls being a significant factor for health issues within seniors, anything that can prove helpful to avoid them is worthy of attention.
Researchers from the University of North Texas Health Science Center recently conducted a systematic review of previous studies regarding Tai Chi, balance and the elderly. They found that the reviews were generally positive. One important finding, which can easily be due to the studies referenced, was that seniors who started before they were having tremendous difficulties with balance faired better than those who started only after beginning to have problems.
The measures used in the studies generally included: fear of falling, single-leg stance, posturography, rate of falling, flexibility, walking velocity, Berg Balance Scale, Timed up and Go, Functional Reach, and ankle and knee joint strength and range of motion. Nearly every study showed functional improvements in these areas for participants.
From this we can conclude that you should start before you have problems if at all possible (same is true for any other positive health and lifestyle change).
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