Frail older adults who practiced tai chi reduced their risk of falling, according to a study conducted at Emory University Medical School in Atlanta.
Researchers noted that adults in their 70s, 80s and 90s—some of whom could not walk without assistance—who participated in weekly tai chi for 48 weeks had fewer falls than subjects who participated in wellness education, according to results published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2003; 51 , 1804–5).
The 25% reduction in risk is not considered statistically significant; however, the difference is important in terms of real life, the researchers noted. Former studies have focused on the benefits of tai chi and risk reduction among healthy older adults. This is the first study to look at the potential benefits for the high-risk elderly. Since the results were promising, the researchers have recommended continued study of the benefits of tai chi among frail older adults.