Tai chi reduces falls among older adults

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A program of tai ji quan balance and movement classes based on tai chi was more effective at reducing falls among older, high-risk adults than conventional stretching exercises or a multimodal exercise program.

Trial participants (670 adults aged 70 years and older who had fallen in the previous year or who had impaired mobility) were randomly assigned to twice weekly hourly sessions of tai ji quan, multimodal exercises (balance, aerobics, strength, and flexibility), or stretching (control group) for 24 weeks.

At 6 months, there were 152 falls in the tai ji quan group, 218 in the multimodal exercise group, and 363 in the stretching group.

The tai ji quan group had 31% fewer falls than the multimodal group. Practicing tai ji quan requires no equipment, large space, or cost.

Source: JAMA Internal Medicine.

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