Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance
Each year, about one in three adults aged 65 years and older fall, and 20 to 30 percent of those who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries, such as cuts, hip fractures and head traumas.
Research has shown that practicing Tai Chi, a balance-promoting exercise, is an effective way for older adults to reduce their risk of falling and to maintain their independence.
The Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance program consists of eight Tai Chi forms practiced over at least 12 weeks. The forms derive from the 24-form Yang-style and have been modified for community adults who wish to reduce their fall risk by improving their balance, strength, mobility, and confidence in performing everyday activities.
Each of these forms can be performed and practiced separately or in combination with other forms as part of a routine. The eight-form routine adheres to the fundamental principles of traditional Tai Chi, which involves weight-shifting, body alignment, and coordinated movements performed in a slow, continuous, circular and flowing manner.
Research to better understand the effectiveness of Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance has been underway since 2004. Increasing evidence supports the health benefits of the program for older adults, including reducing blood pressure, improving muscular strength, balance and postural control, improving sleep quality, reducing depression, reducing fall risk (by as much as 55 percent), enhancing mental well-being, and improving overall quality of life.
This program is designed primarily for community-dwelling older adults. It is particularly well suited for people who are 60 years of age or older, at risk of falling (e.g., have walking or balance problems), are mobile (e.g., able to walk one or more blocks), and do not have significant mental impairment.
Tai Chi: FAQ
What is Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance?
- Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance is a program that helps older adults improve their balance and reduce the likelihood of falling. Research has shown that people who complete the program are half as likely to fall and are less fearful about falling.
What Will I Learn?
- Participants will learn balance skills, good body alignment, and coordinated Tai Chi movements.
Should I Attend?
- The program is intended for community-dwelling older adults aged 60 and older, who can walk easily with or without assistive devices.
How Often Will I Need to Practice?
- Participants should practice Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance for approximately three hours each week.
What Health Benefits Will I See?
- Improved physical health and better functioning in daily activities
- Improved balance, muscle strength, flexibility and mobility
- Better mental health such as increased self-esteem and less social isolation
Injury Prevention Service
Oklahoma State Department of Health
1000 NE 10th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73117