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Shadow boxing: Tai Chi reduces the risk of falling for seniors
In recent years, tai chi has become more and more popular in Germany. The Far Eastern martial art is a good way to reduce stress for many people. However, regular movements also help older people to reduce their risk of falling. Spanish researchers have now found this out.
Older people fall more often
Some people find it difficult to walk safely in old age, they often fall. According to experts, the high risk of falling for seniors has many reasons. For example, progressive bone loss ("osteoporosis"), balance disorders or muscle weakness can be considered. A study by Spanish researchers has now shown how older people can prevent falls: through regular tai chi training.
Slow flowing movements
Although Tai-Chi Chuan (abbreviated "Tai-Chi") is also called "shadow boxing", for some the slow, flowing movements of the Far Eastern martial art cannot be compared to boxing.
The meditative movements, which are performed almost in slow motion and in combination with concentrated breathing, have been practiced in China for centuries.
In recent years, tai chi has become a trend worldwide. In the western world, it has established itself particularly as a health sport. Among other things, it helps against chronic pain and stress.
Tai Chi helps against numerous health problems
In an interview with “Heilpraxisnet.de”, the President of the European Tai Chi Association TCFE, Sifu Nils Klug, reported on further positive effects of shadow boxing.
Martial arts can "help alleviate the symptoms of various diseases and have a positive effect on the course of diseases".
"I would like to mention cardiovascular diseases, vegetative disorders, all kinds of knee problems, back pain up to the herniated disc, and tinnitus," said Klug.
Reduce the risk of falling
In addition, the professional association of German Rheumatologists e.V. pointed out years ago that tai chi can relieve pain associated with rheumatism.
The movements can also help to strengthen the knee joints.
And Tai Chi helps older people to reduce their risk of falling, Spanish researchers now report in the journal "Journal of the American Geriatrics Society".
Comparison with physiotherapy and gymnastics
In order to arrive at their results, the scientists led by study author Rafael Lomas-Vega from the University of Jaén in Spain searched the medical literature for relevant studies.
The research team found ten studies comparing the effect of tai chi with that of other treatments on the risk of falling, including physiotherapy and exercise.
According to the study authors, regular participation in Tai Chi courses reduced the risk of falling by 43 percent within a year and by 13 percent in the long term.
The probability that the test subjects fell and injured themselves halved in the course of a year.
The seniors had practiced between one and three hours of Tai Chi exercises each week for about three to six months. (ad)