Researchers from the School of Nursing and Midwifery within the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Iran recently conducted a study observing the effects of Tai Chi on the quality of sleep within a geriatric population. Knowing that insomnia and poor sleep are very common among older adults, meditative, relaxing and strengthening exercises such as Tai Chi that are easily performed by older adults would seem to be a good intervention.
Researchers recruited 62 participants (all >65 years of age) from within an elderly home in Isfahan, Iran. Tai Chi sessions were taught 3/x week for 12 weeks starting with very easy practice of 5 minutes and increasing to 25 minutes near week 6 and continuing on that way until the end of the intervention. Sleep quality was charted by using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) both before and following the intervention.
Researchers found significant improvement in sleep quality within the tai chi group and no changes within the control group. When added to the cardiovascular benefits and improvement of balance Tai Chi appears to be an important intervention within older adults that can lead to improved quality of life on many levels.
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