Older persons who practiced tai chi were reportedly less likely to experience an injury-causing fall than those who received lower-extremity training (LET).
In the study, published recently in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers at Taipei Medical University in Taipei, Japan, divided 368 people age 60 and older who received medical attention for a fall into two groups: those who received hour-long tai chi classes conduced by tai chi instructors every week for 24 weeks, and those who received individual, hour-long LET sessions conducted by physical therapists for 24 weeks. The LET sessions included stretching, muscle strengthening, and balance training, explains a media release from the American Geriatrics Society.
The research team asked all the participants to complete at least 80% of their sessions, and also to practice either tai chi or LET at home every day during the study period and the 12-month follow-up. During the study, all the participants also kept diaries and recorded any falls they experienced, which were shared with the researchers, per the release.
According to the study, after the 6-month training period, the participants in the tai chi group were less likely to experience an injury-causing fall than those in the LET group. Even 12 months post-study, the study suggests that those who participated in the tai chi group were about 50% less likely to experience an injury-causing fall than those who received LET.
Though participants in the study took individualized tai chi classes at home, “I suggest that older adults learn tai chi exercises in a class, and practice at home at least once a day,” says Mau-Roung Lin, PhD, professor and Director of the Institute of Injury Prevention and Control, Taipei Medical University in Taipei, Taiwan, a co-author of the study, in the release.
[Source(s): American Geriatrics Society, Science Daily]