Tai Chi: the ancient art of falls prevention

    The natural ageing process often places older adults at an increased risk of having a fall, which is the leading cause of injury and hospitalisation for senior Australians.

    A fall can cause serious head injuries; and fractures of the arm, hand, ankle, or hip. These injuries often require surgery and lead to long periods of immobility. Even after mobility has returned, other more insidious affects can take hold. For instance, an ongoing fear of falling can make people reluctant to leave the house, which can lead to social isolation, depression and worsening health.

    Regular balance exercises have been long recommended to help prevent falls, and can be very effective, but another practice growing in popularity amongst the elderly is Tai Chi.

    Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that combines gentle, flowing movements with deep breathing and meditation. Its focus on balance and lower-limb strength makes it a promising form of exercise for reducing falls and fall-related injuries.

    Residents from Churches of Christ Warrawee Aged Care Service have recently begun regular classes with Gerardine Rigby from Community and Allied Health. The classes can be modified to suit all levels of ability.

    Not only does it help significantly in falls prevention, the gentle movement of Tai Chi helps in all areas or the person health and wellbeing including:

    • Pain management
    • Arthritis management
    • Improved mobility and function
    • Improved strength, core stability and flexibility
    • Improved circulation
    • Increased fitness
    • Decreased stress level
    • Decreased social isolation

    To find out more about the benefits of Tai Chi, read the Australian Department for Health’s submission Tai Chi for Health Institute and Tai Chi Association of Australia.

     

    Posted April 27, 2016 in Lifestyle blog