Practicing tai chi may help reduce the number of falls in both older and at-risk adults, according to researchers.

The researchers, from the University of Jaén in Spain, analyzed published studies in the medical literature. They identified 10 randomized controlled trials analyzing the effects of tai chi versus other treatments on the risk of falls.

According to the studies included in their investigation, there was evidence that tai chi significantly reduced the rate of falls by 43% compared with other interventions at short-term follow-up (less than 12 months) and by 13% at long-term follow-up (more than 12 months).

Regarding injurious falls, there was some evidence that tai chi reduced risk by 50% over the short term and by 28% over the long term. Tai chi did not seem to influence when an older or at-risk adult was likely to experience their first injurious fall, explains a media release from Wiley.

“Tai chi practice may be recommended to prevent falls in at-risk adults and older adults. The length of the interventions ranged from 12 to 26 weeks. The frequency of the 1-hour sessions ranged from one to three times per week,” says team leader Rafael Lomas-Vega, PhD, in the release. “Due to the small number of published studies, further research is needed to investigate the effect of tai chi on injurious falls and time to first fall.”

Their study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

[Source(s): Wiley, Science Daily]