The practice of Tai Chi began as a martial art in China hundreds of years ago, and its its health benefits have been the focus of more than 500 studies in the last half-century.

A recent analysis of 10 studies on older adults, in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found that regular classes reduced falls by 43 % in those followed up for a year..compared with other exercise.  One study suggested it may also cut the chance of being injured in a fall by 50 % .

A review published last year in Canadian Family Physician found that Tai Chi also helps ease the symptoms of chronic obbstructive pulmonary disease, dementia,depression,osteoarthritis and Parkinson’s disease. A similar review found it may help with hypertension too.

Tai chi involves slowly shifting your weight from side to side or forward and back, and stepping in circles..all of which improve balance.  It also helps strengthen your hip stabilizing muscles, improves your body’s sense of where it is in space.

The mindfulness aspect of Tai Chi..the breathing, focus,and rhythmic nature of the movements…helps calm the nervous system and reduce inflammation.  That can have a positive effect on brain function, pain perception, anxiety, and blood pressure.

If you have notied you are having balance difficulties when standing up or your walking is deviating left or right, or your walking speed is slower consider a Tai Chi class. Many problems ,I see in Physical Therapy are due to falls or near falls.Talk to health practioners and they will tell you falls and injuries from falls are becoming a bigger problem in the Villages.