Tai-Chi

I don’t mean falling head over heels in love but those falls that come about due to age and reduced flexibility.

Tai-ChiI read recently that Tai Chi reduced the incidence of falls by 29% in older adults.  As the daughter of an 80 year old gentleman who regularly falls down and with most incidents resulting in a journey to A & E, I wanted to learn more.

Tai Chi maybe the answer. On a recent visit to Hong Kong I was intrigued to watch groups practising Tai Chi in the park as normal as you or I would sit and feed the ducks or drink a latte.  I knew some of the health benefits associated with the slow gentle movements of Tai Chi but I hadn’t really appreciated the overall benefits to muscle strength, balance, stress reduction and mobility.

A recent study by Falls Management Exercise (FaME ) using 1256 people aged over 65 recruited from GP practises has shown a marked improvement in the reduction of falls.   Evidence that suggests more investigation and trials should be conducted.

The cost to the NHS of elderly patients in hospital due to falls, must be huge in comparison to health interventions like this which help older members of the community to stay fit and healthy in their own homes as long as possible.

Tai Chi can be done by most people of any age due to the nature of its low-impact exercises which put far less stress on bones and joints than other forms of exercise; most people should be able to do it.

Apart from the medical benefits of exercise I should think the social aspect of coming together regularly in a group would help some older people feel less isolated in their homes.

It would be great if Tai Chi class’s in the park where as common in the UK as they are in China.