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Tai chi may help prevent falls in older people

Doing the Chinese exercise tai chi improves balance control and flexibility in older people and may help prevent falls in older and at-risk adults, an analysis of research has found.

Doing the Chinese exercise tai chi improves balance control and flexibility in older people and may help prevent falls in older and at-risk adults, an analysis of research has found

exercise
Doing tai chi could reduce the short-term risk of falls in older people
by 50%. Picture: Getty Images

Doing the Chinese exercise tai chi may help prevent falls in older and at-risk adults, an analysis of research has found.

Previous research has shown that the health-promoting exercise, which focuses on whole body coordination, improves balance control and flexibility in older people.

A team led by Rafael Lomas-Vega of the University of Jaén in Spain identified 10 randomised controlled trials analysing the effects of tai chi compared with other exercises and treatments on the risk of falls in at-risk and older adults.

Reduced risk

They found that doing tai chi reduced the rate of falls by 43% compared with other interventions at short-term follow-up of less than 12 months, and by 13% at long-term follow-up of more than 12 months.

There was also evidence that tai chi reduced the risk of falls by 50% over the short term and by 28% over the long term.

Dr Lomas-Vega said: 'Further research is needed to investigate the effect of tai chi on injurious falls and time to first fall.'


Lomas-Vega, R et al (2017). Tai Chi for Risk of Falls. A Meta-analysis. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15008

 

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