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Improving Balance and Preventing Falls with Tai Chi

As you “retool” and re-educate yourself to prepare for new career opportunities and challenges in the 21st century, you may decide to focus on fitness for older adults. With this clientele, preventing falls is a major issue. Research has clearly shown that exercise is…

tai chi reduces falls in high-risk elderly by 25%

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 [12], 1804–5).

moving slow in a fast world

In an era in which Americans are primarily concerned with losing weight and gaining muscle mass, it is no wonder that the slow-moving martial art of tai chi has been a bit of a hard sell.
Tai chi won’t fold under your bed for easy storage, nor will it claim to reduce inches off your waistline in “just 3 minutes a day.” The reality is, however, that those who practice tai chi are likely to get stronger, have less anxiety, move more organically and gracefully, improve their balance and enjoy more flexibility.

what is mind-body exercise?

Now, more than ever, mind-body exercise programs are hot.
From 1998 through 2002, yoga and tai chi participation increased by 95 percent in the United States, according to American Sports Data (ASD) Inc. (ASD 2003a). By 2002, an estimated 11.1 million Americans were practicing tai chi or yoga and 4.7 million were doing Pilates (ASD 2003b). New participants are attracted partly by savvy marketing but also by the lure of programs that might offer them peace of mind as well as fitness gains.

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